Alexander Barclay

STC 3546 (=C)
Ringler TP 2068. Eclogues 1-3 are translated from _De Miseria Curialium_ by Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini [later Pope Pius II]. UMI microfilm reel 915. Fragments of quire D only survive of the earliest ed. [Eclogue 1], Cambridge, J. Siberch, 1523? (STC 1383.5) [UMI microfilm reel 1826].

Stultifera nauis, qua omnium mortalium narratur stultitia. 1570. The ship of fooles. [With other works by Barclay]
London: J. Cawood,[1570].

Variant source 1: [P. Treveris], c1530 (STC 1384) [Eclogues 1-3] (=T). Variant source 2: [Anr ed.], H. Powell, 1548? (STC 1384a) [Eclogues 1-3] (=P). Variant source 3: R. Pynson, 1521? (STC 1384b) [Eclogue 4] (=Pyn). Variant source 4: W. de Worde, 1518? (STC 1385) [Eclogue 5] (=W).

Composition Date: 1510-1530.

Minalcas speaketh
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Certayne Egloges of Alexander_Barclay Priest, Whereof the first three conteyne the miseryes of Courtiers and Courtes of all princes in generall, Gathered out of a booke named in Latin, MISERIÆ CVRIALIVM, compiled by Eneas_Siluius Poet and Oratour.

¶The Prologe.
THe famous Poetes with the Muses nine
With wit inspired, fresh, pregnant and diuine,
Say, boldly indite in stile substanciall:
Some in Poemes hye and heroicall,
5 Some them delite in heauy Tragedies,
And some in wanton or mery Comedies.
Some in Satyres against vices dare carpe,
Some in sweete songes accordant with the harpe.
And eche of these all had laude and excellence
10 After their reason and stile of eloquence.
Who in fayre speeche could briefly comprehende
Moste fruitfull matter, men did him moste commende.
And who were fruitlesse, and in speeche superflue,
Men by their writing scantly set a qu.
15 Therefore wise Poetes to sharpe and proue their wit,
In homely iestes wrote many a mery fit.
Before they durst be of audacitie
T'auenture thinges of weyght and grauitie.
In this saide maner the famous Theocrite
20 First in Siracuse attempted for to write
Certayne Egloges or speeches pastorall,
Inducing Shepherdes, men homely and rurall.
Which in playne language, according to their name,
Had sundry talking, sometime of mirth and game,
25 Sometime of thinges more like to grauitie,
And not exceeding their small capacitie.
Moste noble Uirgill after him longe while
Wrote also Egloges after like maner stile.
His wittes prouing in matters pastorall,
30 Or he durst venture to stile heroicall.
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And in like maner nowe lately in our dayes
Hath other Poetes attempted the same wayes:
As the moste famous Baptist_Mantuan
The best of that sort since Poetes first began.
35 And Frauncis_Petrarke also in Italy
In like maner stile wrote playne and meryly.
What shall I speake of the father auncient,
Which in briefe language both playne and eloquent,
Betwene Alathea, Sewstis stoute and bolde
40 Hath made rehearsall of all thy storyes olde,
By true historyes vs teaching to obiect
Against vayne fables of olde Gentiles sect.
Beside all these yet finde I many mo
Which haue employed their diligence also,
45 Betwene Shepherdes, as it were but a fable,
To write of matters both true and profitable.
But all their names I purpose not to write,
Which in this maner made bookes infinite.
Nowe to my purpose, their workes worthy fame
50 Did in my yonge age my heart greatly inflame.
Dull slouth eschewing, my-selfe to exercise
In such small matters, or I durst enterprise
To hyer matter, like as these children do,
Which first vse to creepe, and afterwarde to go.
55 The birde vnused first flying from her nest
Dare not aduenture, and is not bolde nor prest
With winges abroade to flye as doth the olde,
For vse and custome causeth all-thing be bolde:
And litle cunning by craft and exercise
60 To perfect science causeth a man to rise.
But or the Paynter can sure his craft attayne,
Much froward fashion transfourmeth he in vayne.
But rasing superflue, and adding that doth want,
Rude picture is made both perfect and pleasant.
65 So where I in youth a certayne worke began,
And not concluded, as oft doth many a man:
Yet thought I after to make the same perfite,
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But long I missed that which I first did write.
But here a wonder, I fortie yere saue twayne
70 Proceeded in age, founde my first youth agayne.
To finde youth in age is a probleme diffuse,
But nowe heare the truth, and then no longer muse.
As I late turned olde bookes to and fro,
One litle treatise I founde among the mo:
75 Because that in youth I did compile the same,
Egloges of youth I did call it by name.
And seing some men haue in the same delite,
At their great instance I made the same perfite.
Adding and bating where I perceyued neede,
80 All them desiring which shall this treatise rede,
Not to be grieued with any playne sentence
Rudely conuayed for lacke of eloquence.
It were not sitting a heard or man rurall
To speake in termes gay and rhetoricall.
85 So teacheth Horace in arte of poetry,
That writers namely their reason should apply
Mete speeche appropring to euery personage,
After his estate, behauour, wit and age.
But if that any would nowe to me obiect
90 That this my labour shall be of small effect,
And to the Reader not greatly profitable,
And by that maner as vayne and reprouable,
Because it maketh onely relation
Of Shepherdes maner and disputation.
95 If any suche reade my treatise to the ende
He shall well perceyue, if he thereto intende,
That it conteyneth both laudes of vertue,
And man infourmeth misliuing to eschue,
With diuers bourdes and sentences morall,
100 Closed in shadowe of speeches pastorall,
As many Poetes (as I haue sayde beforne)
Haue vsed longe-time before that I was borne.
But of their writing though I ensue the rate,
No name I chalenge of Poete-laureate.
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105 That name vnto them is mete and doth agree
Which writeth matters with curiositee.
Mine habite blacke accordeth not with grene,
Blacke betokeneth death as it is dayly sene,
The grene is pleasour, freshe lust and iolite,
110 These two in nature hath great diuersitie.
Then who would ascribe, except he were a foole,
The pleasaunt laurer vnto the mourning cowle. laurer: =laurel
Another rewarde abideth my labour,
The glorious sight of God my sauiour,
115 Which is chiefe shepheard and head of other all,
To him for succour in this my worke I call,
And not on Clio nor olde Melpomene,
My hope is fixed of him ayded to be Following two lines supplied from P.
That he me direct, my mynde for to expresse:
120 That he, to good ende, my wyt and pen addresse.
For to accomplishe my purpose and entent
To laude and pleasour of God omnipotent,
And to the profite, the pleasour and the mede,
Of all them which shall this treatise here and rede.
125 But to the Reader nowe to returne agayne,
First of this thing I will thou be certayne,
That fiue Egloges this whole treatise doth holde,
To imitation of other Poetes olde.
In whiche Egloges shepheardes thou mayst see
130 In homely language not passing their degree,
Sometime disputing of courtly misery,
Sometime of Uenus disceatfull tiranny,
Sometime commending loue honest and laudable,
Sometime despising loue false and deceyuable,
135 Sometime despising and blaming auarise,
Sometime exciting vertue to exercise,
Sometime of warre abhorring the outrage,
And of the same time the manifolde damage,
And other matters, as after shall appeare
140 To their great pleasure which shal them rede or heare.
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The Argument of the first Egloge.
TWo simple shepheardes met on a certayne day,
The one well aged with lockes hore and gray,
Which after labours and worldly busines
Concluded to liue in rest and quietnes.
5 Yet nought had he kept to finde him cloth nor fode,
At diuers holes his heare grewe through his hode,
A stiffe patched felt hanging ouer his eyne,
His costly clothing was thredebare kendall-grene,
His patched cockers skant reached to his knee,
10 In the side of his felte there stacke a spone of tree,
A botle his cote on the one side had torne,
For hanging the eare was nere a_sunder worne.
In his owne hande alway his pipe he bare,
Wherof the sound him released of his care,
15 His wallet with bread and chese, so then he stood
(A hooke in his hande) in the middest of his good.
Saue that he bosted to haue experience
Of worldly thinges, by practise and science,
Him-selfe he called Cornix by his name.
20 The other shepheard was like vnto the same,
Saue one that he had liued all his dayes
In keping his flocke, and sene no farther wayes.
Yet was he to sight a stoute and lustie freake,
And as he bosted he borne was in the peake.
25 Coridon by name his neighbours did him call,
Him-selfe counted the stoutest of them all.
This Coridon sware and saide to Cornix sure
That he no longer would there that life endure
In wretched labour and still in pouertie,
30 But to the Citie he saide that he would hye,
Or els to the Court, and there with some abide
Till time that fortune would better life prouide.
By which mocion Cornix sheweth playnly
Of Court and Courtiers the care and misery.
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The first Egloge of the miseries and maners of the Court and Courtiers.

Coridon first speaketh.
FOrsooth frende Cornix nought can my heart make light
When I remember the stormes of yester-night,
The thunder and lightning, the tempest and the hayle
Hath playnely wasted our profite and auayle,
5 The fearefull thunder with greeuous clap and sounde
Our Corne hath beaten downe flat vnto the grounde,
With tempest after and violence of rayne
That it as I doubt shall neuer rise agayne.
The hayle hath beaten our shepe within the folde,
10 That all be febled as well the yong as olde,
Our milke is turned and waxen pale and soure,
The storme and tempest vpon our couches poure,
Our flocke and fieldes is all our whole riches,
Which still is subiect to suche vnhappines:
15 For after that we haue done both cost and payne,
One sodeyn tempest destroyeth all agayne.
Then farewel welfare, worse chance we [n]ede not feare nede] dede C, nede T, P
Saue onely to sucke our clawes with the Beare.
The Citizens haue great treasour sikerly
20 In cofers closed auoyde of ieopardie,
Their coynes couched faste vnder locke and key,
From place to place they may the same conuay
When they of the theues perceiue the din and sounde:
But still must our corne remayne vpon the grounde,
25 Abiding stormes, hayle, thunder and tempest,
Till that it be for sikle ripe and prest.
As for their riches no thunder, frost nor hayle,
No storme nor tempest can hurt or disauayle.
Suche carefull chaunces and such aduersitie
30 Us alway kepeth in wretched pouertie.
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Cornix answereth.
O Coridon my mate I sweare so haue I blis,
Thou playnly speakest like as the matter is,
But as for my parte my minde and wit is blinde
To knowe who gideth all wether storme and winde,
35 But this thing I knowe, but yet not parfitely,
Yet bolde dare I be to speake to thee playnly,
For if that I spake it in some audience
Some men would maligne and take it for offence.
If God (as men say) doth heauen and earth sustayne,
40 Then why doth not he regarde our dayly payne?
Our greeuous labour he iustly might deuide,
And for vs wretches some better life prouide.
Some nought doth labour and liueth pleasauntly,
Though all his reason to vices he apply:
45 But see with what sweat, what busines and payne
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Our simple liuing we labour to obtayne:
Beholde what illes the shepheardes must endure
For flocke and housholde bare liuing to procure,
In feruent heate we muste intende our folde,
50 And in the winter almost we frese for colde:
Upon the harde ground or on the flintes browne
We slepe, when other lye on a bed of downe.
A thousande illes of daunger and sicknesse,
With diuers sores our beastes doth oppresse:
55 A thousande perils and mo if they were tolde
Dayly and nightly inuadeth our poore folde.
Sometime the wolfe our beastes doth deuour,
And sometime the thefe awayteth for his hour:
Or els the souldiour much worse then wolfe or thefe
60 Agaynst all our flocke inrageth with mischefe.
See howe my handes are with many a gall,
And stiffe as a borde by worke continuall,
My face all scoruy, my colour pale and wan,
My head all parched and blacke as any pan,
65 My beard like bristles, so that a pliant leeke
With a little helpe may thrust me throw the cheeke,
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And as a stockfishe wrinkled is my skinne,
Suche is the profite that I by labour winne.
But this my labour should greue me much the lesse
70 If rest or pleasure came of my businesse:
But one sodayne storme of thunder, hayle or rayne,
Agayne all wasteth wherfore I toke this payne.
This is the rewarde, the dede and worke diuine,
Unto whose aulters poore shepheardes incline:
75 To offer tapers and candles we are fayne,
And for our offering, lo, this we haue agayne.
I can not declare what pitie and mercy
Wrappeth vs wretches in this harde misery,
But this wot I well, it is both right and mede,
80 There moste to succour where doth appeare most nede.

Ho there frende Cornix, thou wadest nowe to farre,
Thy-selfe forgetting thou leapest ouer the barre:
Smal is my knowledge, thou many a thing hast sene,
Yet out of the way forsoth I see thee clene.
85 The king of heauen is mercifull and iust,
And them all helpeth which put in him their trust:
When we deserue he striketh not alway,
This in the pulpit I hear[d] syr Peter say, heard] heart C
Yet ofte he striketh when man is obstinate,
90 And by no meanes will his misliuing hate:
So all these plages and inconuenience
Fal[l]s on vs wretches onely for our offence. Falls] Fales C

For what offences? thou art mad so to say,
Were we of that sorte which did our Lorde betray,
95 Or that consented our Lorde to crucify?
We neuer were suche thy-selfe can testifie.

Nowe trust me truly though thou be neuer so wroth,
I nought shall abashe to thee to say the troth:
Though we shepheardes be out of company,
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100 Without occasion we liue vnhappely,
Seke well among vs and playnly thou shalt see
Theft, brauling, malice, discorde, iniquitie,
Wrath, lechery, leasing, enuy and couetise,
And briefly to speake, truely we want no vice.

105 What, nay man pardie all we do not offence,
Yet all haue sorowe without all difference,
Say nought man but truth, do God nothing deserue
Without difference, yet be all like to sterue.

What ceasse man for shame thou art of reason scant,
110 The wise nowe must learne wit of the ignoraunt:
I haue no knowledge saue onely of my tarre,
Yet this I perceaue, man should not seke to farre
In Gods workes, he all doth for the best.
If thou findest here no easement, wealth ne rest,
115 What then, seke farther, for playnely so shall I,
In some place fortune beholdeth merily.
I bide no longer by saint Thomas of Kent
In suche bare places where euery day is Lent,
The Frers haue store euery day of the weke,
120 But euery day our meat is for to seke.
I nought haue to bye, begge can I not for shame
Except that I were blinde, impotent or lame:
If suche a gadling as I should begge or craue
Of me suche mercy and pitie would men haue,
125 That they for almes (I sweare by Gods sockes)
In euery towne would make [m]e scoure the stockes: me] we C
That can one Drome by many assayes tell,
With that ill science I purpose not to mell,
Here nothing I haue wherfore I nede to care,
130 Nowe Cornix adue streight-forwarde will I fare.

Streight-forwarde man, hei Benedicite,
All other people haue as great care as we,
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Onely bare nede is all our payne and wo,
But these Towne-dwellers haue many paynes mo,
135 Our payne is pleasour nere in comparison
Of their great illes and sore vexation.
Of all suche thinges haue I experience,
Then mayst thou surely geue to me credence:
Whither wilt thou go to liue more quietly?
140 Man all the worlde is full of misery.

What man, the court is freshe and full of ease,
I can drawe a bowe, I shall some lorde there please,
Thy-selfe can report howe I can birdes kill,
Mine arowe toucheth of them nothing but the bill,
145 I hurte no fleshe, nor bruse no parte at all,
Were not my shoting our liuing were but small:
Lo here a sparowe, lo here be thrushes four,
All these I killed this day within an hour.
I can daunce the raye, I can both pipe and sing,
150 If I were mery I can both hurle and sling,
I runne, I wrastle, I can well throwe the barre,
No shepheard throweth the axeltrie so farre,
If I were mery I could well leape and spring,
I were a man mete to serue a prince or king.
155 Wherfore to the Court nowe will I get me playne,
Adue swete Cornix, farewell yet once agayne,
Prouide for thy-selfe, so shall I do for me.

Do way Coridon, for Gods loue let be,
Nought els is the Court but euen the deuils mouth,
160 And place most carefull of East, west, north and south:
For thy longe seruice there nede shall be thy hyre,
Out of the water thou leapest into the fyre.
We liue in sorowe I will it not deny,
But in the Court is the well of misery.

165 What man, thou seest, and in likewise see I,
That lusty courtiers go alway iolily,
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They haue no labour yet are they wel besene,
Barded and garded in pleasaunt white and grene,
They do nought els but reuell, slepe and drinke,
170 But on his foldes the poore shepheard muste thinke.
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They rest, we labour, they gayly decked be
While we go ragged in nede and pouertie,
Their colour lustie, they bide no storme nor shours,
They haue the pleasoures, but all the paynes are ours.
175 They haue all thinges, but we wretches haue nought,
They sing, they daunce, while we sore sigh for thought.
But what bringeth them to this prosperitie,
Strength, courage, frendes, crafte and audacitie.
If I had frendes I haue all-thing beside,
180 Which might in court a rowme for me prouide.
But sith courtiers haue this life continually,
They haue all pleasour and nought of misery.

Not so Coridon, oft vnder yelowe lockes
Be hid foule scabbes and fearefull French pockes,
185 Their reuilde shirtes of cloth white, soft and thin
Ofte-time cloketh a foule and scoruy skin.
And where we labour in workes profitable,
They labour sorer in worke abhominable.
They may haue shame to iet so vp and downe
190 When they be debtours for dublet, hose and gowne,
And in the tauerne remayne they last for lag,
When neuer a crosse is in their courtly bag.
They crake, they boste, and vaunt as they were wood,
And moste when they sit in midst of others good.
195 Nought haue they fooles but care and misery,
Who hath it proued all courting shall defy.

Mary syr by this I see by experience
That thou in the Court hast kept some residence.

Remembring of court the payne continuall
200 I thinke these paynes but easy, short and small:
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So the remembraunce of greeuous care and payne
Causeth me gladly this hardnes to sustayne.
Who that hath liued in court I thee assure,
In-stede of pleasour may this our life endure.
205 Our nede is eased with pleasaunt libertie,
There care is heaped with harde captiuitie,
I thought our liuing care and vexation
Before of the court or thou made mention.

If the court be suche as thou dost playnly tell
210 I thinke it folly with it to deale or mell,
Better is freewill with nede and pouertie
Then in the court with harde captiuitie:
But tell me Cornix I pray thee instantly,
Howe knowest thou first this geare so perfitely.

215 While I in youth in Croidon towne did dwell
Often to the the court I coles brought to sell,
And then I learned and noted parfitely
Of court and courtiers the care and misery.
For I lurked and none regarded me,
220 Till I had knowledge of hye and lowe degree,
What was their maner, behauour and vsage,
The more I taried more sawe I of outrage.

Then farewell courting, I see thou countest best
Here to remayne in simple welth and rest,
225 But in the meane season I pray thee hartily
Declare me all whole the courtly misery.
Beholde our wethers [l]ye chewing of the cud, lye] iye C
Here is no perill of water dike nor mud,
Slouth loueth slombring, muche slepe is reprouable,
230 But mery talking is greatly comfortable.
Here is colde shadowe, here is a cleare fountayne,
When wordes greueth drinke and begin agayne,
For longe-time passed I haue heard of thy lore,
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Which thing me moueth to heare thee talke the more.
235 Begin and shewe me the courtes wretchednesse,
So I perchaunce shall set therby the lesse:
And where longe talking oft greueth many a man
I shall thee furnishe with wordes nowe and then.
What say on Cornix, why art thou nowe so still?
240 Thy wit and reason was wont to be at will.

Fayne would I common for pleasour and pastime,
But truth is counted most greeuous fault and crime,
And some might me heare which by their wordes soure
Might bring me in court to greeuous displeasoure,
245 Because I shall proue all them that court doth haunt
Miserable fooles, mad-men and ignoraunt.
Therefore Coridon among the bowes prye
If there lurke any Iay, Sterling, Thrush or Pye
To note my wordes, and chat them foorth agayne,
250 Wherby I might winne displeasour, losse or payne.

Losse, Gods dominus, to lose thou haste no good,
Saue hooke and cokers, thy botle and thy hood,
Thy hood all ragged can kepe no-body drye,
Many hath as good, though none can them espye:
255 He hath small reason that hath a hood more fine,
And would for malice berob thee here of thine,
As for displeasour I warrant thee also.
Thou shalt for princes great ease and pleasour do,
For many vpon them do dayly craue and call
260 To be in seruice, which are not mete at all:
To be in the court they labour so gladly
Because they knowe not therof the misery.
Whom to receiue it is not profitable,
And to despise them it is not honorable.
265 If thou suche constrayne to leaue of their own minde,
Thou doest to princes a very pleasour kinde,
And other fooles shall take thy tale in sporte,
And neuerthelesse shall to the court resorte.
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Then let not Cornix, playnly to say the troth,
270 Let scabbed clawe, and gyly men be wroth,
Better is for truth suffer paynes harde,
Then for false flattering to haue a great rewarde.

Thou saiest but reason, I laude thee by saint Iohn,
Then boldly demaunde I pray thee Coridon
275 Of suche matters as to the court belonge,
And I shall answere, de[m]e if it be wrong deme] dene C, T, deme P
That I haue learned by practise and science,
I shall as I may geue thee intelligence.

The court as thou sayest is false and deceyuable,
280 Then tell me wherfore that men most honorable
Therin remayning abideth care and payne,
And yet by their will they will not foorth agayne.

Many thinges be which moueth people blinde
To ren to the court with feruent heart and minde,
285 But of all thinges this specially is one,
The hope of honour called ambition.
Right so Minalcas did luste of honour call,
And as he counted, ambition is egall
Unto that vertue which men call charitie.
290 Charitie suffreth all harde aduersitie,
All payne and labour, and all vexation:
And euen as much suffreth ambition.
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For worldly wretches in honour to excell
Force not to labour downe to the pit of hell,
295 Lo here chiefe cause why men to court resorte,
But once in the court when they haue had comfort,
Suche is of mankinde the blinde calamitie,
That in one state if they longe-time haue be,
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A life there liuing but vile and full of shame,
300 Yet by no meane can they despise the same.
So who that in youth hath vsed courtes rage,
They finde no meane to leaue the same in age,
And to win laudes and prayse of the commontie
In no harde labour thinke they difficultie:
305 But if men hunted for God and hye glory,
As they hunt dayly for honour transitory,
Right fewe or none would to the court apply,
There to be tangled with care and misery.
But to the court if thou hast thine intent
310 Because Prelates and wise men it frequent,
Heare what the shephearde of Nazareth doth say,
As I heard Faustus declare vpon a day:
Upon the hye chayre and seat of Moyses
Sitte the olde Scribes and sect of Pharises,
315 Liue as they teach, but liue not as they do.
And thus in the court man must behaue him so.
His life refourming like as suche ought to liue,
Not by example which they to other giue.

These be hye matters and farre beyonde my wit,
320 If suche be the court what man should mel with it?
Yet I assure thee before this I haue sene
That worthy shepheardes long in the court haue bene.
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All that I graunt thee, but aske and thou shalt finde
That suche in the court abode agaynst their mind,
325 As the riche shepheard which woned in Mortlake.

O Cornix, Cornix, fele howe my hart doth quake,
On him when I thinke my heart is full of payne,
Would God that we could get him to liue agayne.
What time he liued some did him blame iwis,
330 Which since he died do him sore lacke and mis.
He passed Codrus, he passed Minalcas,
He passed Mopsus and also Lisidas,
None other shepheard might with that man compare,
In_during his life we neded not to care, in_during: see OED s.v. enduring, prep. (=during)
335 But euer sith time that he was dead and gone
We suffer wrongs, defender haue we none,
He was the patron of thinges pastorall,
His face and fauour forget I neuer shall.
Whyle I was yong he came vnto our cotage,
340 Then was my father Amintas farre in age,
But the same shepheard gaue him both cloth and golde,
O Cornix, the yong be much vnlike the olde.

Yes since his dayes a cocke was in the fen,
I knowe his voyce among a thousande men,
345 He taught, he preached, he mended euery wrong,
But Coridon alas no good thing bideth long.
He all was a cocke, he wakened vs from slepe,
And while we slumbred he did our foldes kepe,
No cur, no foxes, nor butchers dogges wood
350 Coulde hurte our fouldes, his watching was so good,
The hungry wolues which that time did abounde
What time he crowed abashed at the sounde.
This cocke was no more abashed of the foxe
Then is a lion abashed of an oxe.
355 When he went faded the floure of all the fen,
ref.ed: 17
I boldly dare sweare this cocke trode neuer hen.
This was a father of thinges pastorall,
And that well sheweth his Church cathedrall,
There was I lately about the middest of May,
360 Coridon his Church is twenty sith more gay
Then all the Churches betwene the same and Kent,
There sawe I his tome and Chapell excellent.
I thought fiue houres but euen a little while,
Saint Iohn the virgin me-thought did on me smile,
365 Our parishe Church is but a dongeon
To that gay Churche in comparison.
If the people were as pleasaunt as the place
Then were it paradice of pleasour and solace,
Then might I truely right well finde in my heart
370 There still to abide and neuer to departe.
But since that this cocke by death hath left his song
Trust me Coridon there many a thing is wrong,
When I sawe his figure lye in the Chapell side,
Like death for weping I might no longer bide.
375 Lo all good thinges so sone away doth glide,
That no man liketh to long doth rest and abide.
When the good is gone (my mate this is the case)
Seldome the better reentreth in the place.

Thou saiest truth Cornix I make to God auowe,
380 But hay mate Cornix see where be we nowe?
Farre from the matter where we first began,
Begin where we left I pray thee if thou can.

That shall I lightly: thou saydest that a sorte
Of good olde shepheardes did to the court resorte,
385 But suche as be good be there agaynst their will,
For truely in court they finde lesse good then ill,
To see muche amis to them it is great payne,
When for their wordes none will his vice refrayne,
Then get they but scorne and indignation,
390 And for their good mindes payne and vexation.
ref.ed: 18

I pray thee Cornix procede, tell by and by.

Of court and courtiers the payne and misery?
That were a longe matter and very harde to do.

This is best remedy, take longer time therto.
395 Here is a pleasaunt shadowe, here is a pleasaunt coole,
Take banke and floures for cushen and for stoole.

Then lay downe thy hooke, geue me the bottle nere,
With often washing the throte and voyce is clere.

Lo here the bottle, drinke suche as is therein,
400 Drinke better, and then in the name of God begin,

A syr well drawen, and that with little payne,
Then turne we our speche vnto the court agayne.
Who will to the court first let him thinke before
Whether he may suffer labour and paynes sore,
405 Both hunger and thirst, iniury and wrong,
For these shall he finde the rude courtiers among:
And more after these, yet let him thinke agayne
Whether in the court he may that thing obtayne
Which he desireth, me-thinke the contrary,
410 Men would finde honour, there finde they misery.
Thus all be fooles which willingly there dwell,
Coridon the court is the bayting-place of hell.
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ref.ed: 19

That is hardly saide man, by the roode of rest.

I graunt it is harde, but to say truth is best,
415 But yet shall I proue my saying veritable,
Aduert my wordes, see if I be culpable.
Unto our purpose: by diuers wayes three
Men may be fooles, I shall them count to thee:
They all be fooles which set their thought and minde
420 That thing for to seke which they shall neuer finde.
And they be fooles which seke thing with delite,
Which if they find is harme and no profite.
And he is a foole, a sotte, and a geke also,
Which choseth a place vnto the same to go,
425 And where diuers wayes lead thither directly
He choseth the worst and most of ieopardie:
As if diuers wayes laye vnto Islington,
To Stow_on_the_Wold, Quaueneth or Trompington,
To Douer, Durham, to Barwike or Exeter,
430 To Grantham, Totnes, Bristow or [God]manchester Godmanchester] good Manchester C, godmanchester T, Godmanchester P
To Roan, Paris, to Lions or Floraunce.

(What ho man abide, what already in Fraunce.
Lo, a fayre iourney and shortly ended to,
With all these townes what thing haue we to do?
ref.ed: 20

435 By God man knowe thou that I haue had to do
In all these townes and yet in many mo,
To see the worlde in youth me-thought was best,
And after in age to geue my-selfe to rest.

Thou might haue brought one and set by our village.

440 What man I might not for lacke of cariage.
To cary mine owne selfe was all that euer I might,
And sometime for ease my sachell made I light.

To our first matter we better must entende,
Els in twelue monthes we scant shall make an ende.

445 True saide, Coridon, that can I not deny,
But thine owne selfe did leade me from the way.
Unto these townes nowe to returne agayne,)
To any of them all if there lay wayes twayne,
The one sure and short and leading directly,
450 The other way longer and full of ieopardie,
That foole were worth a bable and a hood,
Which would chose the worst, perceiuing wel the good.
One of these follies or all oppresse that sorte
Which not constrayned vnto the court resorte,
455 Eyther that they search which they may not attayne,
Or that which gotten shall do them hurt and payne,
Or of two wayes they vse to leaue the best,
For on no goodnes doth their desires rest.

What is the desire and purpose principall,
ref.ed: 21
460 Chiefly frequented among these Courtiers all,
And for what rewarde take they suche busines.

Of that coulde Codrus the truth to expresse,
And I shall tell thee as true as the Gospell,
After like maner as I heard Codrus tell.
465 Who that remayne by king or princes side
Endure great paynes fiue thinges to prouide,
Who that in court may one of them purchase
Thinketh to haue wonne a pleasaunt gift of grace.
The first is honour, I tolde thee of this same,
470 The seconde is laude, hye name or worldly fame,
The thirde is power might or aucthoritie,
The fourth is riches chiefe roote of dignitie,
The fifte is pleasour, lust and voluptuousnes,
For these do men sue vnto the court doubtles.
475 Beside these be some, but they be sowen thin,
Resorting to court there soules for to win,
So muche more merit supposing to obtayne,
Howe muche more they bide of displeasour and payne,
Of these all shall be my communication.

480 Nowe speake on Cornix with Gods benison.

All these shall I proue by playne experience
Not onely witles and voyde of sapience,
ref.ed: 22
But also fooles, men ignoraunt and wood,
And of all fooles moste worthy of a hood.
485 But or I begin I take thee to witnes,
That no prince I blame deliting in goodnes:
But onely to speake by protestation,
To say nought but truth is no detraction.
Agaynst our soueraigne nothing do I reply,
490 In whom all vertue doth spring abundantly:
And other princes and lordes great or small,
While they flee vices I blame none of them all.
And though in talking often-times call I must
Some princes subiect to folly, sinne, and lust,
495 I would not haue that ascribed to them all.
I am not so fonde, so dull nor rusticall,
But that I perceyue that many princes be,
Whose life and vertue is after their degree.
With feare of God and dread of payne doubtles
500 They slake those vices which riseth on nobles.
And where ofte vices spring moste in hye degree,
By men of riches, wealth, lust and libertie,
Because that no man dare blame them for offence,
Yet some noble-men so gide them by prudence,
505 Namely assisted by the supernall grace,
So that wit ruleth and lustes haue no place.
Among Gentiles suche princes finde I can,
As Augustus, Titus, and eke Uespasian,
ref.ed: 23
Traian, Antonius with many other mo,
510 And Christen princes many one also,
As rich Constantine and olde Archadius,
Theodocius, Charles, and Honorius,
Yea and holy Henry lying at Windesore,
Of suche could I count mo then a twentie score.
515 Beside noble Henry which nowe departed late,
Spectacle of vertue to euery hye estate,
The patrone of peace and primate of prudence,
Which on Gods Church hath done so great expence.
Of all these princes the mercy and pitie,
520 The loue of concorde, iustice and equitie,
The purenes of life and giftes liberall,
Not lesse vertuous then the said princes all.
And Henry the eyght moste hye and triumphant,
No gifte of vertue nor manlines doth want,
525 Mine humble spech and language pastorall
If it were able should write his actes all:
But while I ought speake of courtly misery,
Him with all suche I except vtterly.
But what other princes commonly frequent
530 As true as I can to shewe is mine intent,
ref.ed: 24
But if I should say that all the misery,
Which I shall after rehearse and specify.
sig: [A4]
Were in the court of our moste noble kinge,
I should fayle truth, and playnly make leasing,
535 And if that I sayde that in it were no vice,
So should I lye, in like maner wise.
As for my part, I blame no man at all,
Saue such as to vice be subiect, bounde and thrall.
For among all men this-wise standeth the case,
540 That more ill then good doth growe in euery place.

Right well excused, I thought not erst sithene,
That simple Cornix had halfe this subtiltie.
But nowe appereth the very truth certayne,
That men of worship haue not best wit and brayne.
545 Nowe tell howe Courtiers which gape for honour,
In-stede of honour finde paynes sharpe and sour.

All they which suffer in court labour and payne,
Thereby supposing true honour to obtayne,
It much abuseth, my wordes nor doctrine
550 Be much vnable to geue them medicine.
For Elebor the olde with all his salues pure
ref.ed: 25
Their wilfull foly could scantly helpe and cure.
What man would thinke that true honour profounde
In princes halles or courtes may be founde.
555 There none hath honour by vertue and cunning,
By maners, wisedome, sadnes nor good liuing.
But who hath power, hye rowmes or riches,
He hath moste honour and laude of more and lesse.
For what poore man, a playne and simple soule,
560 Though he were holy as euer was Saint Powle,
Haste thou euer seene exalted of a king
For all his maners and vertuous liuing.
These be the wordes of Shepherde Siluius,
Which after was pope, and called was Pius.

565 What yes man perdie right many haue bene sene,
Which in poore houses borne and brought vp haue bene,
That from lowe rowmes and carefull pouertie
Be nowe exalted to greatest dignitie.

Such is the pleasure of princes, to promote
570 Such vnto honour, which scant be worth a grote.
But whom promote they? geue credence vnto me,
Such as in maners to them moste likest be,
And in what maners? in beastly lechery,
In couetise, ire, or in vile gluttony,
ref.ed: 26
575 In hastie murther and other crueltie:
Beleue me Coridon, I say but veritie.
A couetous prince hath him moste acceptable,
Which gathereth coyne by meanes disceyuable:
As false accusing, and wrong extortion,
580 Selling of Iustice, fraude and oppression,
A lecherous prince hath him best in conceyte,
Which can by craftes his place and time best wayt,
Uirgins and wiues moste fayre and amiable
To bring to his bed for lust abhominable.
585 And a dronken prince hath him as derest mate,
Which moste can surfet, moste reuell and drinke late.
And vnto a prince which loueth crueltie,
Chiefely in fauour and conceyte is he,
Which moste deliteth in sheding mans bloud,
590 Fewe vicious princes promote such as be good.
Nowe is accepted of men of hye degree,
Nor set in honour from humble pouertie.
Except he [hath] done some dede so great of fame, hath] C omits, hath T, P
That all the world may wonder at the same.
595 But this same honour is neither true nor stable,
Which groweth of roote so ill and detestable.
For very honour, and true or perfect glory
Commeth of actes of laudable memory:
In supportation of right and equitie,
600 Or in defending the Church and commontie.
ref.ed: 27
Or other actes common or priuate
Which sound to worship, these make a true estate.
But such true honour fewe princes do deserue,
And no more do they which in the court them serue:
605 Sith all almoste be of misgouernaunce,
For no good do they except it be by chaunce.

Yet at the least way such men reputed be
Men of great honour amonge the commontie:
For while such walke in court or in strete,
610 Eche man inclineth which them doth see or mete.
Off goeth the bonet, a becke at euery worde,
Eche man must needes geue place vnto my Lorde.
After his degree, birth or promotion,
Suche of the commons haue salutation.
615 And shortly to say, men do them more honour,
Then to the figure of Christ our Sauiour.

It is as thou sayest forsooth my Coridon,
But harke what they say at last when men be gone,
Then they salute them in the deuils name,
620 And pray vnto God that they may dye with shame.
And so doth many by torment and dolour
When fikle fortune liketh on them to loure.
But such as do stoupe to them before their face
Geueth them a mocke when they be out of place:
625 And one doth whisper soft in anothers eare,
And sayth, this tiran is feller then a bere.
ref.ed: 28

Why, and feare they no more for to say thus?

No, but harke man what sayth the good pope Siluius
Lo, this same is he which by his bad councell
630 Causeth our prince to be to vs to fell.
This same is he which rayseth deme and taxe,
This same is he which strayned men on rackes.
This same is he which causeth all this warre,
This same is he which all our wealth doth marre.
635 This is of Commons the very deadly mall,
Which with these charges thus doth oppresse vs all.
Who him dipleaseth, he beateth all to dust,
This same is he which killeth whom him lust,
That all the deuils of hell him hence cary,
640 That we no longer endure his tiranny.
This is the honour and all the reuerence
Geuen vnto them when they be from presence.
But in such honour who-euer hath delite,
Which is fraudfull, so faynt and vnperfite.
645 I am not afeard to call him mad and blinde,
And a very foole, or els a sot of kinde.

Cornix my frende, thou speakest nowe to playne,
I feare least this gere shall turne vs vnto payne
ref.ed: 29
If any man be nere, be still a while and harke.

650 I feare not at all nowe I am set on warke:
Beside this (Coridon) in court moste part doth dwell
Flatterers and lyers, curriers of fafell,
Iugglers and disers, and such a shamefull rable
Which for a dinner laude men nothing laudable.
655 But men circumspect which be discrete and wise,
Doth such vayne laudes vtterly despise.
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For truely no laude is named good nor true,
Except it proceede of men which loue vertue.
A ribaudes blame is commendation,
660 Such vse to slaunder good conuersation.
But suche they commende as be to them semblable,
So their dispraysing to thee is profitable.

Nowe truely my heart is eased with the same,
For Godfrey_Gormand lately did me blame.
665 And as for him-selfe, though he be gay and stoute,
He hath nought but foly within and eke without.
To blowe in a bowle, and for to pill a platter,
To girne, to braule, to counterfayte, to flatter,
He hath no felowe betwene this and Croydon,
670 Saue the proude plowman (Gnato) of Chorlington.
Because he alway maligneth against me,
It playne appereth our life doth not agree.
For if we liued both after one rate,
Then should I haue him to me a frendly mate.
675 But Cornix proceede, tell forth of dignitie.

Often in my tale, I hindred am by thee.
ref.ed: 30
Such as for honour vnto the court resort,
Looke seldome-times vpon the lower sort:
To the hyer sort for moste part they intende,
680 For still their desire is hyer to ascende.
And when none can make with them comparison,
Against their princes conspire they by treason.
Then when their purpose can not come well to frame,
Agayne they discende and that with vtter shame.
685 Coridon thou knowest right well what I meane,
We lately of this experience haue seene.
When men would ascende to rowmes honorable,
Euer is their minde and lust insaciable.
What-euer they haue, they count the same but small,
690 While ought is greater, nought can them please but all.
And once in Cambridge I heard a scoller say,
(One of the same which go in copes gay,)
That no man should fixe ende of felicitie
In worldly honour, hye rowme or dignitie:
695 For it is a thing incertayne and vnstable,
Which man of him-selfe to puruay is not able.
In another power this honour alway is,
Who moste it seeketh, of it doth often misse.
And who that serueth for honour and hye name,
ref.ed: 31
700 And in this world to get him noble fame,
Much payne abideth through cares and distresse.
And with many men he hath much busynes:
And oft must he rather the minde of men content,
Then do the pleasure of God omnipotent.
705 Then sith two honours of diuers sortes be,
One which is geuen of men of honestie.
The second honoure is of a multitude:
For very truth that man of wit is rude,
Which hunteth in court for the first honour,
710 The same to purchace by care and great labour.
As fortune honour no man can there obtayne,
Where neyther maners nor vertues do rayne.
The seconde honour is of commontie,
Who that requireth, yet more foolishe is he.
715 For he demaundeth a thing right perillous,
Unsure, vnstable and also vicious,
But both these sortes alway be vexed sore,
When they in honour see many them before,
And often-times suche as moste vnworthy be.
720 For in court seldome is lauded honestie.
Thus who of honour and laude is couetous,
Unto him the court is moste contrarious.
And no-where he findeth greater vexation,
Then folowing the court, suing ambition.
725 For who would ascende to honour principall,
ref.ed: 32
Findeth in the court moste care and payne of all.

We haue ynough had of communication
As touching honour and commendation,
Or worldly praysing for rowmes and hye name:
730 And though more might be declared of the same.
What leaue some my mate for other on to brall,
It were ouermuch for vs to talke of all.
Nowe talke we of might or hye aucthoritie,
Howe men for the same loue in the court to be.
735 Speede thee, for cloudes appere on euery side,
If any storme fall we can not longer abide.

As touching power, might or aucthoritie:
Some thinke in the court in fauour great to be.
To be with princes of power excellent,
740 Some fooles counteth a thing preeminent.
Or that men should him a kinges tutour call,
Much to commaund, but nought to do at all.
Both peace and battayle to order at his will,
To be of power both to do good and ill.
745 But many a thousande which haue such power sought,
Haue bene disceyued, and shortly come to nought.
As with one Nero named [C]laudus, Claudus] Elaudus C, P, Elawdus T
In so great fauour was one Seianus,
ref.ed: 33
That while this Nero was farre from his empire,
750 Seianus ruled the same at his desire,
So much that Seian had honour then in-deede,
As of all the worlde counted the seconde head.
That if this Nero had died or his houre,
This Seian truely should haue bene emperour.
755 But by one letter he after taken was,
In vtter dishonour deposed from his place.
Led for a spectacle streyght vnto Tiber banke,
And there beheded, such was his mede and thanke.
All his ymages in his honour erect
760 Were with great malice downe to the grounde deiect.
Thus all his power ended with care and shame,
Who that hath wisedome will note and marke the same.
It is no matter nor thing of certayntie
With mighty princes of great power to be.
765 No state is febler, more weake and incertayne
Then such as semeth great with his souerayne.
He hath enuious maligners and ill-will,
All out of fauour adiudgeth him for ill.
And all the housholde doth commonly him hate,
770 Which with the master is seruaunt and nere mate.
And this in the world is seene moste commonly,
That all hye rowmes be subiect to enuy.
Such of all other be hated and suspect,
If they ought offende, it lightly is detect.
775 And from all defence if they be clere and quite,
ref.ed: 34
Then lye they in wayte them sharply to bacbite.
Some for them study fraudes, disceyte and gile,
And talebearers walke and greue them otherwhile.
And like as thine eye is grieued with a mote,
780 So princes fauour (though it be neuer so hote)
Is lightly grieued, and that for small offence,
Though it were gotten with paynefull diligence.
And oft it is lost for none offence at all,
So much with princes may tonges false make fall.
785 So much talebearers by craftes forge can,
That the Emperour called Adrian
Slewe his olde frendes, and hated many one
By these talebearers and false detraction.
And many Princes or this haue done the same
790 By hasty credence, distayning sore their name.
And as in Croidon I heard the Collier preache,
That holy scripture doth vs infourme and teache,
sig: [A5]
Howe Saule, Dauid, and prudent Salomon
Commaunded to be slayne of such many one,
795 As hath bene with them in great aucthoritie.
ref.ed: 35
And dayly of such may we example see.
Because Isaac in might did rise and stande,
False Abimelech him droue out of his lande.
And Alexander with his owne handes slewe
800 Citron his frende, which he did after rewe.
Because he compared vnto this conquerour
His father Philippus, laudes and honour.
And such-like chaunce but lately did befall
In the lande of Apuly to the great Senescall:
805 Which was so greatly in fauour with the Quene,
That none was so great as he him-selfe did wene.
And thought in fauour to bide more stedfastly,
For he abused the Queene dishonestly.
But to another the Queene turned her loue,
810 And then him murdred his presence to remoue.
And when she had founde the meanes him to kill,
Then had she diuers louers at her will.

O cursed woman, and deede of crueltie.

Yea yea Coridon, mo be as bad as she,
ref.ed: 36
815 Some haue by malice their sucking children slayne.
But to my matter will I retourne agayne.
Their fraude and malice I will not nowe declare,
Who with them dealeth perceyueth what is care.
But nowe (Coridon) to princes to returne,
820 Who pleaseth this day is out agayne the morne.
Right fewe or none are by a Princes side
Which doth in fauour continually abide.
While one ascendeth, another doth discende,
This is the thing whereto they moste intende.
825 And which in court men chiefely go about,
Them-selues to bring in, and rub another out.
And then to climbe vp to office and renowme,
And while they ascende to thrust another downe.
Eche one desireth his felowe to excell,
830 There is none order, no more then is in hell.
No loue, no fauour, fayth nor fidelitie,
One brother can not sure for another be.
The sonne for the father hath no compassion,
And like pitie hath the father of his sonne.
835 Eche man for him-selfe, and the frende for all,
Eche one desireth to be the principall.
Eche one will commaunde and haue preeminence,
And if any one haue place of excellence,
He hath about him a thousande eyne and nine,
840 And as many tonges to put him to ruine.
ref.ed: 37
On euery side enuyers him awayte,
Deuising meanes to bring him from his state.
A man of power which many men may deare
Hath euer ill-will, thus may he many feare.
845 Hye towres decay builded by flouds side,
Which doth the waues continually abide.
What shall a shepherde do in the court to tende,
Whose life and seruice on one man doth depende.
Though thou in fauour be with a prince or king, prince] princes C, prynces T, prynce P
850 Yet trust not therein, it is vncertayne thing.
Thou haste him not bounde to thee with chayns strong
Of lead or yron to last and tary long.
But with feble waxe suche bande can not last,
When loue waxeth colde, then shall the linkes brast.
855 The feruour of wrath shall them consume and melt,
Then is thy fauour scant worth a shepes pelt.

Of some haue I heard of men of great honour,
Which haue in the court bid alway in fauour.
Till time their princes departed from this life,
860 And then with the newe had like prerogatife.
Thus in the court nothing so variable
As thou rehearsest, nor yet so reprouable.

I graunt thee Coridon, some such haue there bene,
But that is a birde which seldome-time is sene.
865 That is but fortune, and chaunce not on to trust,
ref.ed: 38
But many be throwen vnwarely to the dust.
Some while their princes still liued in renowme,
But when they depart, all turneth vp-set-downe.
Then if some haue fauour with princes successours,
870 We see them seldome set in so hye honours,
As with their elders they did before obtayne,
A man soone falleth, and slowe is vp agayne.
So many we see deposed from degree:
And howe much the more they were in dignitie,
875 So much more after be they vile and abiect,
Their auncient name counted of none effect.
Then they perceyue who was their frende and fo,
Before in honour forsooth they could not so.
To men of power some often stoupe and becke,
880 Which gladly would see their heades from the necke.
When they by fortune are on the grounde agayne,
Then laugh their foes, and haue at them disdayne.
Their frendes dolour and sorowe is not small,
Their owne disworship a shame is worst of all.
885 For after they liue still in dolour and distresse,
In shame, rebukes, in care and heauynes.
This is the common ende and sure conclusion
Of such as with princes serue for promotion,
Wherfore I dare call them fooles before thee,
ref.ed: 39
890 Which serue in the court for might or dignitie.

Forsooth mate Cornix, I can not well denye,
But that such chaunces do happen commonly.
Then better is small fire one easyly to warme,
Then is a great fire to do one hurt or harme.
895 I am assured, as for thy-selfe and me,
We nede not to feare to fall from our degree.
Beggery is lowest, who that can fare withall
Needeth not to feare to lower state to fall.
But haue done Cornix, and tell the wretchednes
900 Of such as in court serue onely for riches.
As for the other, the best that we do may
Is, to differre it vntill another day.

Well sayde Coridon, I am content with that,
But first let me drinke, I shall the better chat.
905 This whey is soure, but vse easeth the payne,
Drinke Coridon, and stop it vp agayne.

Nowe say on Cornix, thy talking liketh me,
I see that counsell excludeth capacitie.
Saue for thy wisedome or this time as I wene,
910 With courtly misery I tangled should haue bene.
But well fare councell when it is true and good,
I would that Minalcas this also vnderstoode.

Many of the court resort dayly doubtlesse,
In youth to gather some treasure or riches,
915 Then against age they may go out agayne,
And afterwarde liue without labour or payne.
ref.ed: 40
In hope of this ease and latter libertie,
Many in the court bide longe captiuitie.
And if some courtier thus to him-selfe doth say,
920 Alas shall I neuer ought for my-selfe puruey.
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When shall I in court some litle banke procure,
That from the bagge and staffe mine age may be sure.
The foole thinketh then moste riches for to haue
Against such season when nerest is his graue.
925 When nere is ended his iourney of this life,
Then is he for vitayle moste busy and pensife.
Our Sauiour sayth: It is as harde doubtles
To one which fixeth his pleasure on riches
To enter that royalme which is aboue the skye,
930 As an asse to enter through a needels eye.
I heard our Uicar say in like maner wise
Once when he preached against couetise:
Then it is foly great riches to purchace,
And by it to lose the hope of heauenly place.
935 Is not Christ able his poore men to sustayne,
Yes, and to rid them out of all other payne.
The poore Apostles be greater nowe of fame
Then riche Cresus, for all his royall name.
When man hath in God his trust and confidence,
ref.ed: 41
940 In all time of neede he fayleth none expence.
All good men fixe their trust in God pardie,
He knoweth better what thing we neede then we.
Of some poore freers is made more curiously,
Then is some Abbey or riche monastery.
945 The first hath their trust in God our Creatour,
The other trusteth vpon their vayne treasour.
Thus God oft helpeth them that in him haue trust,
When worldly riches men leaueth in the dust.

Cornix, thy promise was not to preache,
950 But me of the courtiers misery to teache.
Against thine owne selfe thou speakest nowe perdie,
For first thou grutched against pouertie.
Agayne, thou blamest plentie of riches nowe,
But fewe men liuing thy saying will alowe.
955 For without riches, thou sayest openly,
Uertue nor cunning nowe be nothing set by.

I will not denye, but it is neede doubtles
For all men liuing for to haue some riches,
But trust me Coridon, there is diuersitie
960 Betwene to haue riches, and riches to haue thee.
Then thou hast riches when thou despisest store,
Bestowest it well, and forcest not therefore.
But riches haue thee, when wretched couetise
ref.ed: 42
Thy minde subdueth to euery ill and vice.
965 And when thy desire is yet insaciable
Though thou haue treasure almoste innumerable.
Such maner riches (the Collyer tell thee can)
Is vile and odible both vnto God and man.
But nowe to the court for to returne agayne,
970 Some thinke by princes great riches to obtayne.
But while they couete inriched for to be,
Coridon, forsooth they lese their libertie.
And yet if I should the very truth expres,
No man can in court finde iust and true riches.
975 If thy lorde geue thee eyther golde or fee,
Unto his seruice more art thou bounde perdie.
Saint Gregory sayth, affirming the same thing,
In greatest giftes is greatest reckening.
But if thou wilt then forth of the court depart,
980 When by thy prince inriched thus thou art.
Then shall be founde some gile, some fraude or trayne,
By meane wherof thou lesest all agayne.
A fault shall be founde, some-one shall thee accuse
Of thing wherof thou did neuer thinke nor muse.
985 Though thou be giltlesse, yet shalt thou be conuict,
Fare well, thy good all shall be from thee lickt,
Or some backe-reckening concerning thine office
Of all thy riches shall pill thee with a trice.
ref.ed: 43
Then art thou clapped in the Flete or Clinke,
990 Then nought must thou say, whatsoeuer thou thinke.
For if thou begin to murmure or complayne,
Thy life thou lesest, then haste thou harmes twayne.

Yet were it better for to continue still
As longe in the court as is the princes will.

995 If thou continue, thou must be diligent
And ready at hande at eche commaundement,
When he commaundeth, thou must be prest to fight
To ride and to go by day and eke by night.
No dreade, no daunger may helpe thee nor excuse,
1000 No payne nor perill mayst thou flee or refuse.
Sometime must thou be in ayre contagious,
And in thousandes other of chaunces perillous.
What he commaundeth, that nedes do thou must,
Be it good or ill, rightwise or vniust.
1005 Laugh when he laugheth, all if thine heart be sad,
Wepe when he wepeth, be thou neuer so glad.
Laude what he laudeth, though it be not laudable,
Blame what he blameth, though it be commendable.
And shortly to speake, thou must all-thing fulfill
1010 As is his pleasure, and nothing at thy will.
None of thy wittes are at thy libertie,
Unto thy master they needes must agree.
What is more foolishe, more fonde or imprudent
ref.ed: 44
Then to get riches by such extreme torment.
1015 For nought it is els but playne a phrensey
To bide for riches this care and misery.
It would make one clawe where-as it doth not itche
To see one liue poore because he would dye riche.
Because one in court hath gotten good, or twayne,
1020 Should all men suppose the same there to obtayne?
And in hope thereof to lose their libertie,
But seeking riches, such findeth pouertie.
For many in court while they abide riches,
Spende all their treasure and liue in wretchednes,
1025 What saith some foole, spende on a bone viage, bone viage: =boon voyage; see OED s.v. boon, a.
Perchaunce my wages shall passe mine heritage.
But while he spendeth till scant remayne a grote,
Home he retourneth, yea, with a threede-bare coate.
His horse is so fat, that playne he is not able
1030 To get his body nor head out of the stable.
His sworde and buckler is pledged at the bere,
And to go lighter, so is his other gere.
The rider walketh now with his bowe and arowes,
With a fayre excuse (in hedges to kill sparowes.)
ref.ed: 45
1035 And oft returning he sayde, but all to late.
Adue all courting in the deuils date.

A syr, this passeth nowe by the rode of some,
Better were for suche to haue bid at home.
But tell me Cornix, hath all men the bondage
1040 And payne of the court for no more aduauntage.

Yes, sometime riches is geuen by some chaunce
To such as of good haue greatest aboundaunce.
Likewise as streames vnto the sea do glide,
But on bare hilles no water will abide:
1045 So if a poore man serue in the court longe while,
Fortune shall neuer so frendly on him smile,
But that a riche man in rowme or hye dignitie
For a litle seruice hath more rewarde then he.
As for the seruice, none in the court shall ponder,
1050 They note the person, still is the poore kept vnder.
For a litle man mete is a small hakney,
So smallest persons haue small rewarde alway.
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But men of worship set in aucthoritie
Must haue rewardes great after their degree.
1055 And (Coridon) princes geue nought I tell thee playne,
But when that they lust reuoke agayne.
And so such thinges which princes to thee geue,
To thee be as sure as water in a siue.
Thou mayest not of them make alienation,
ref.ed: 46
1060 Nor the same carye vnto another nation.
Thou mayest not dispose them after thine intent,
But like as thy prince is pleased and content.
Then such vayne riches can be thine by no skill,
Sith thou haste no might to spende them at thy will.
1065 Yea, and moreouer thou haste no facultie
The same to bequeath at will when thou must dye.
If thou want issue, no man shall be thine heyre
Saue onely the prince, thus doth the world fare.
If thou haue issue, succeede shall they not thee,
1070 Except with thy prince they will in seruice be.
How many haue be slayne me needeth not expresse,
Of such as them erst auaunced to riches.
So princes are wont with riches some to fede,
As we do our swine when we of larde haue nede.
1075 We fede our hogges them after to deuour,
When they be fatted by costes and labour.
In like wise princes promoteth many one,
And when they be riche, they gnaw them to the bone.
Like as Longinus and Seneca doubtlesse,
1080 Which as sayth Codrus were slayne for their riches.
So writeth Pius (whom some Eneas call)
A clause alleaging of famous Iuuenall.
ref.ed: 47

The more of the court that thou doest count and tell,
The lesse me liketh with it to deale or mell.

1085 What bide Coridon, yet haste thou not heard all,
The Court is in earth an ymage infernall,
Without fayre paynted, within vggly and vile,
This know they surely which there hath bene a while.
But of our purpose nowe for to speake agayne,
1090 Fewe princes geue that which to them-selfe attayne.
Trust me Coridon, I tell thee by my soule,
They robbe saint Peter therewith to cloth S. Powle.
And like as dayly we both may see and here,
Some pill the Churche, therewith to leade the quere.
1095 While men promoted by such rapine are glad,
The wretches pilled mourne, and be wo and sad.
And many heyres liue giltlesse in distresse,
While vnworthy hath honour and riches.
But such vile giftes may not be true playnly,
1100 Nor yet possessed by lawe rightwisely.
And sith fewe rowmes of lordly dignitie
Be won or holden with right and equitie,
Say what thing haue they to geue by lawe and right,
Sith their chiefe treasure is won by wrongful might.
1105 Whence come their iewels, their coyn, and cloth of price,
ref.ed: 48
Saue moste by rapine and selling of Iustice,
Els of Saint Peters, or Christes patrimony.
Nowe fewe be founders, but confounders many.
These be no giftes true, honest nor laudable,
1110 Neyther to the geuer nor taker profitable.
These men call giftes of none vtilitie,
Which thus proceedeth of false iniquitie.
Then leaue we this vice while all good men it hate,
For couetous with coyne be neuer saciate.
1115 I hearde syr Sampson say but this other day,
That Ierome and Seneca do both this sentence say,
That couetous wretches not onely want that thing
Which they neuer had in title nor keeping.
But that which they haue also they want and fayle,
1120 Sith they it hauing of it haue none auayle.
And as I remember, olde Codrus sayde also
That golde nought helpeth when we must hence go.
Scant haue we pleasure of it while we here tary,
And none can his store nor glory with him cary.
1125 Thus ought we to liue as hauing all in store,
But nought possessing, or caring nought therefore.
What should christen men seeke farther for riches,
ref.ed: 49
Hauing foode and cloth it is ynough doubtlesse,
And these may our Lorde geue vnto vs truely,
1130 Without princes seruice or courtly misery.
Thus finde we in court playne no riches at all,
Or els finde we such with care continuall.
That it were better no riches to haue founde
Then for false treasure in thraldome to be bound.

1135 Looke vp mate Cornix, beholde into the west,
These windy cloudes vs threatneth some tempest.
My clothes be thin, my shepe be shorne newe,
Such storme might fall that both might after rewe.
Driue we our flockes vnto our poore cotage,
1140 To_morowe of court we may haue more language.
This day haste thou tolde and proued openly
That all such courtiers do liue in misery.
Which serue in the court for honour, laude or fame,
And might or power, thou proued haste this same:
1145 And that all they liue deepest in distresse
Which serue there to win vayne treasour and riches.
As for the other two, and if ought more remayne,
Thou mayest tell to_morowe when we turne agayne.

I graunt Coridon, take vp thy bottell sone,
1150 Lesse is the burthen nowe that the drinke is done,
Lo here is a sport, our bottell is contrary
To a Cowes vtter, and I shall tell thee why.
With a full vtter retourneth home the cowe,
ref.ed: 50
So doth not the bottell as it appereth nowe.
1155 Coridon, we must haste in our iourney make,
Or els shall the storme vs and our shepe ouertake.


Thus endeth the first Egloge of the miseries of the Courtiers, compiled and dravven by Alexander_Barclay.
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Here beginneth the seconde Egloge of the miseryes of Courtiers.

HOw fel this Cornix, why taryed thou so long,
This is the fourth daye, some-thinge is with thee wronge,
Els some perturbance of houshold busynes
Unto thy pasture hath made thee tende the lesse.

5 Codrus the richest Shepherde of our coast,
Which of his wethers is wont him-selfe to boast,
Unto a banket frendly inuited me
The same day after I departed fro thee:
While I him helped his gestes for to chere,
10 That hath me caused so lately to be here.

Who fatly fareth with costly meate and drinke,
For worke behouefull doth litle care or thinke.
When full is the wombe the bones would haue rest,
Fye on such surfeyt, fayre temperaunce is best.
15 My wiues gray hen one egge layde euery day,
My wife fed her well to cause her two to lay.
But when she was fat, then layde she none at all,
I trowe that like chaunce be vnto thee befall.
For nowe of thy flocke thou hast no minde nor care,
20 Since time thy wittes were dulled with fat fare.

Not so Coridon, for when I sup at home,
I oft go to bed with faynt and hungry wombe:
Then lye I slumbring to win in slepe I thinke
That same which I lost for want of meate and drinke.
25 But when I am fed, then sleepe I stedfastly,
And after short rest then worke I lustely.

A birde well ingorged kepes well her nest,
A full bely asketh a bed full of rest.
ref.ed: 52

That is when dyet exceedeth temperaunce,
30 Then foloweth slouth and all misgouernaunce:
As brauling, babling, discorde and lechery,
Blaspheming, lying, craking and periury.
But as touching me, because I want at home,
When I am abroade I furnish well my wombe.
35 Yet more I take not then nature may sustayne,
And then sore worke I it to disgest agayne.
So did I with Codrus till I am fatigate.

I wist well something made thee to come so late.
Me list no longer to common of excesse,
40 But tell me Cornix what was thy busynes.

The riuer began the bankes to ouerflowe
At diuers partes, where-as the ground was lowe.
For might of water will not our leasure bide,
We fayne were our shepe a while to set aside.
45 And both day and night to put to our diligence
For to ouercome the floudes violence.
Strengthing our bankes, and heyghting them agayne
Which were abated with flouds or great rayne.

The earth in this poynt is like maners of men,
50 From hye groundes water descendeth to the fen.
The hye mountaynes of water them discharge,
And lade the riuers with floudes great and large.
Agayne the riuers dischargeth them likewise,
And chargeth the Sea: so mens common gise
55 Is alway to lay the burthen or the sacke
(Which them sore grieueth) vpon some other backe.

Nothing is truer then is this of thee sayde,
It is a true prouerbe, and pretyly conuayde.

But nowe thou art come, I pray thee heartyly,
ref.ed: 53
60 Begin where thou left of Courtiers misery.
The heauen is clere, the cloudes cleane away,
Which is a token of caume and pleasant day.
The poynted birdes with pleasaunt tunes sing,
The dewy floures freshly doth smell and spring.
65 All-thing reioyceth, eche thing doth nature kepe,
Then were it great shame to vs to snort and slepe.
By mery talking long time seemeth short,
In frendly speeche is solace and comfort.

As I remember, we spake last of riches,
70 Nowe talke we of lust or voluptuousnes.
Forsooth some wretches of maners vile and rude
Haue counted in lust most hye beatitude.
And namely the sect which folowe Epicure,
Which shamefull sect doth to this day indure.
75 Whom the Philosophers and clerkes now-a_dayes
Despise with wordes, yet folowe they his wayes.
For what is that clerke or prelate in honour,
Which cleane despiseth all temporall pleasour.
And therfore perchaunce if any such there be,
80 Despising to looke on fayrenes or beautye,
Despising odours or sapour delicate,
And pleasaunt touching despising in like rate:
Some call them happy which can such thing exclude,
ref.ed: 54
But no men count them of maners dull and rude.
85 For two diuers wayes doth mans life contayne,
The one of vertue, of diligence and payne:
The other of lust, of pleasure, mirth and rest,
The first despising, men count the second best.
The way of vertue is rough and desolate,
90 With weede and thornes shut, for all men it hate.
Fewe it frequenteth or folowe in regarde,
For the first entry to them appereth harde.
The way of pleasure is playne and euident,
And greatly worne, for many it frequent.
95 The harde way of vertue at ende hath quietnes,
The playne way of pleasure hath daunger and distresse.
Yet where one haunteth the passage of vertue,
For that one foure score their lustes doth insue.
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These matters be hye and semeth me diffuse,
100 Drawe to our purpose, cause me no longer muse.

Though I be poore and here nothing set by,
Yet haue I or this sene some Philosophy,
But the lacke of vse hurteth all science,
And wretched thraldome is enemie to prudence.
105 What time the person is counted as abiect,
Then langour maketh the wit of small effect.
A famous doctor is blinded among fooles,
Onely his valour is clerest in the scholes.
A precious stone well couched in pure golde
ref.ed: 55
110 Is bright and comely, and goodly to beholde,
Throwe it in the mire then is the beautie gone
And hid for the time, both of the golde and stone.
For lacke of vsing a sworde earst glased bright
With rust is eaten, made foule and blacke to sight:
115 Right so my reason sometime freshe to deuise,
Is nowe made rusty for lacke of exercise.

By this disputing thou mayst scoure of the rust,
Returne nowe to speake of pleasour and lust.

Many blinde wretches bide in the court labour,
120 There wening to win their lustes and pleasour,
But it is a wonder and matter chiefe of all
To speake of their folly and appetite rurall:
But first let vs talke what pleasour is there sene
With the fiue wittes, beginning at the eyne.

125 That is truth Cornix, right many thinges there be
Which men haue pleasour and great delite to see,
And these in the court be moste in abundaunce.

Nay, there hath the sight no maner of pleasaunce,
And that shall I proue long time or it be night.
130 Some men deliteth beholding men to fight,
Or goodly knightes in pleasaunt apparayle,
Or sturdie souldiers in bright harnes and male,
Or an army arayde ready to the warre,
Or to see them fight, so that he stande afarre.
ref.ed: 56
135 Some glad is to see these Ladies beauteous
Goodly appoynted in clothing sumpteous:
A number of people appoynted in like wise
In costly clothing after the newest gise,
Sportes, disgising, fayre coursers mount and praunce,
140 Or goodly ladies and knightes sing and daunce,
To see fayre houses and curious picture,
Or pleasaunt hanging, or sumpteous vesture
Of silke, of purpure or golde moste orient,
And other clothing diuers and excellent,
145 Hye curious buildinges or palaces royall,
Or Chapels, temples fayre and substanciall,
Images grauen or vaultes curious,
Gardeyns and medowes, or place delicious,
Forestes and parkes well-furnished with dere,
150 Colde pleasaunt streames or welles fayre and clere,
Curious cundites or shadowie mountaynes,
Swete pleasaunt valleys, laundes or playnes,
Houndes, and suche other thinges manyfolde
Some men take pleasour and solace to beholde.
155 But all these pleasoures be much more iocounde
To priuate persons which not to court be bounde,
Then to suche other whiche of necessitie
Are bounde to the court as in captiuitie.
For they which be bounde to princes without fayle,
ref.ed: 57
160 When they must nedes be present in battayle
There shall they not be at large to see the sight,
But as souldiours in middest of the fight,
To runne here and there sometime his foe to smite,
And oftetimes wounded, herein is small delite.
165 And more muste he thinke his body to defende,
Then for any pleasour about him to intende,
And oft is he faynt and beaten to the grounde,
I trowe in suche sight small pleasour may be founde.
As for fayre ladies clothed in silke and golde
170 In court at thy pleasour thou canst not beholde,
At thy princes pleasour thou shalt them onely see,
Then suche shalt thou see which little set by thee,
Whose shape and beautie may so enflame thine heart,
That thought and langour may cause thee for to smart.
175 For a small sparcle may kindle loue certayne,
But scantly Seuerne may quench it clene agayne,
And beautie blindeth and causeth man to set
His heart on the thing which he shall neuer get.
To see men clothed in silkes pleasauntly
180 It is small pleasour, and ofte causeth enuy.
While thy leane Iade halteth by thy side
To see another vpon a Courser ride,
Though he be neyther gentleman nor knight,
Nothing is thy fortune thy hart can not be light.
185 As touching sports and games of pleasaunce,
To sing, to reuell and other daliaunce:
ref.ed: 58
Who that will truely vpon his lorde attende
Unto suche sportes he seldome may entende.
Palaces, pictures and temples sumptuous,
190 And other buildinges both gay and curious:
These may marchauntes more at their pleasour see,
Then suche as in court be bounde alway to bee.
Sith kinges for moste parte passe not their regions,
Thou seest [not] Cities of foreyn nations. not] nowe C, now T, P
195 Suche outwarde pleasoures may the people see,
So may not courtiers for lacke of libertie.
As for these pleasours of thinges variable
Which in the fieldes appeare[t]h delectable, appeareth] appeareeh C
But seldome-season mayest thou obtayne respite
200 The same to beholde with pleasour and delite.
Sometime the courtier remayneth halfe the yere
Close within walles muche like a prisonere,
To make escapes some seldome-times are wont,
Saue when their princes haue pleasour for to hunt,
205 Or els otherwise them-selfe to recreate,
And then this pleasour shall they not loue but hate:
For then shall they foorth most chiefely to their payne,
When they in mindes would at home remayne.
Other in the frost, hayle or els snowe,
210 Or when some tempest or mightie wind doth blowe,
Or els in great heat and feruour excessife,
ref.ed: 59
But close in houses the moste parte waste their life,
Of colour faded, and choked nere with dust:
This is of courtiers the ioy and all the lust.

215 What, yet may they sing and with fayre ladies daunce,
Both commen and laugh, herein is some pleasaunce.

Nay, nay, Coridon, that pleasour is but small,
Some to contente what man will pleasour call,
For some in the daunce hir pincheth by the hande,
220 Which gladly would see him stretched in a bande.
Some galand seketh hir fauour to purchase,
Which playne abhorreth for to beholde his face.
And still in daunsing most parte inclineth she
To one muche viler and more abiect then he.
225 No day ouerpasseth but that in court men finde
A thousande thinges to vexe and greue their minde.
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Alway thy foes are present in thy sight,
And often so great is their degree and might
That nedes must thou kisse th e hand which did thee harm
230 Though thou would see it cut gladly from the arme.
And briefly to speake, if thou to court resorte,
Yf thou see one thing of pleasour or comfort,
Thou shalt see many before or thou depart
To thy displeasour and pensiuenes of heart:
235 So findeth thy sight there of more bitternes
And of displeasour, then pleasour and gladnes.
ref.ed: 60

As touching the sight nowe see I clere and playne
That men in the court shall finde but care and payne,
But yet me-thinketh as dayly doth appeare,
240 That men in the court may pleasaunt thinges heare,
And by suche meanes haue delectation,
While they heare tidinges and communication,
And all the chaunces and euery neweltie
As well of our coste as farre beyonde the sea.
245 There men may heare some that common of wisdome,
For of men wisest within the court be some,
There be recounted and of men learned tolde
Famous Chronicles of actes great and olde,
The worthy dedes of princes excellent,
250 To moue yong princes suche actes to frequent.
For when wise men dare not bad princes blame,
For their misliuing, Minalcas sayth the same,
Of other princes then laude they the vertue
To stirre their lordes suche liuing to ensue.
255 And while they commende princes vnworthily,
To be commendable they warne them secretly.
All this may courtiers in court ofte-times heare,
And also songes of-times swete and cleare.
The birde of Cornewall, the Crane and the Kite,
260 And mo other like to heare is great delite,
Warbling their tunes at pleasour and at will,
Though some be busy that therin haue no skill.
There men may heare muche other melody
In sounde resembling an heauenly armony.
ref.ed: 61
265 Is this not pleasour? me-thinkes no mirth is scant
Where no reioysing of minstrelcie doth want,
The bagpipe or fidle to vs is delectable,
Then is there solace more greatly commendable.

Thou art disceaued and so be many mo,
270 Which for suche pleasour vnto the court will go,
But for these also I muste finde remedy,
Whiche sue to the court for lust of melody.
They be mad fooles which to reioyce their eares
Will liue in court more dreadfull then with beares:
275 In-stede of pleasour suche finde but heauines,
They heare small good, but muche vnhappines.
As touching tidinges which thou dost first abiect,
There muche thinges is tolde false and of none effect,
And more displeasour shall wise men in them finde
280 Then ioye and pleasour to comfort of their mind.
These be tidinges in court moste commonly,
Of Cities taken, warre, fraude and tiranny,
Good men subdued or els by malice slayne,
And bad in their stede haue victory and reigne,
285 Of spoyling, murther, oppression and rapine,
Howe lawe and iustice sore falleth to ruine.
Among the courtiers suche newelties be tolde,
And in meane season they laugh both yong and olde.
While one recounteth some dedes abhominable,
290 Suche other wretches repute it commendable.
ref.ed: 62
But men of wisedome well learned in Scripture,
Which talke of maners or secretes of nature,
Or of histories, their disputation,
Is swetely saused with adulation,
295 They cloke the truth their princes to content,
To purchase fauour and minde beneuolent,
And sometime poetes or oratours ornate
Make orisons before some great estate,
It is not so swete to heare them talking there
300 Where-as their mindes be troubled oft with feare,
As in the scholes, where they at libertie
Without all flattering may talke playne veritie.
For truely in courtes all communication
Must nedes haue spice of adulation.
305 Suche as be giltie anone be mad and wroth
If one be so bolde playnly to say the troth,
Therfore ill-liuers ofte-times lauded be,
And men dispraysed which loue honestie,
And true histories of actes auncient
310 Be falsely turned some princes to content,
And namely when suche histories testifie
Blame or disworship touching his progenie.
Then newe histories be fayned of the olde,
ref.ed: 63
With flattery paynted and lyes manyfolde.
315 Then some good scholer without promotion
Hearing suche glosed communication,
Dare not be so bolde his lying to gaynsay,
But laugh in his minde yet at the foole he may.
And also in the court Auctours not veritable
320 And least of valour are counted moste laudable,
But Liuius, Salust and Quintus_Curcius,
Iustinian, Plutarche and Suetonius,
With these noble Auctours and many suche mo
In this time courtiers will nothing haue to do.

325 Cornix, where hast thou these strange names sought?

I sought not in youth the world all for nought.
Minstrels and singers be in the court likewise,
And that of the best and of the French gise,
Suche men with princes be sene more acceptable
330 Then men of wisedome and clarkes venerable,
For Philosophers, Poetes and Oratours
Be seldome in court had in so great honours.
When thou fayne would here suche folkes play or sing,
Nothing shall be done of them at thy liking,
335 But when it pleaseth thy prince them to call
ref.ed: 64
Their sounde ascendeth to chamber and to hall,
When thou wouldest slepe or do some busines
Then is their musike to thee vnquietnes,
Yet bide their clamour and sounde thou must
340 To thy great trouble and no pleasour or lust:
This is of singers the very propertie,
Alway they coueyt desired for to be,
And when their frendes would heare of their cunning
Then are they neuer disposed for to sing,
345 But if they begin desired of no man
Then shewe they all and more then they can,
And neuer leaue they till men of them be wery,
So in their conceyt their cunning they set by:
And thus when a man would gladliest them heare,
350 Then haue they disdayne in presence to appeare,
And then when a man would take his ease and rest,
Then none can voyde them they be in place so prest,
Yet muste thou nedes eche season principall
Rewarde suche people els art thou nought at all,
355 For their displeasour to thee and paynes harde:
Lo suche is the court, thou must geue them rewarde.
Beside this in the court men scant heare other thing
Saue chiding and brauling, banning and cursing,
Eche one is busy his felowe for to blame,
360 There is blaspheming of Gods holy name,
ref.ed: 65
Deuising othes with pleasour for the nonce,
And often they speake together all at once,
sig: B2
So many clamours vse they at euery tide
That scant mayst thou heare thy felowe by thy side,
365 They boste their sinnes as paste the feare of shame,
Detracting other men faultie in the same,
One laudeth his lande where he was bred and borne,
At others countrey hauing disdayne and scorne,
On eche side soundeth foule speche of ribawdry,
370 Uaunting and bosting of sinne and vilanny,
No measure, no maner, shame nor reuerence,
Haue they in wordes in secret or presence,
A rustie ribaude more viler then a sowe
Hath in the court more audience then thou,
375 Some boke, some braule, some slaunder and backbite,
To heare suche maners can be but small delite,
Except a wretche will confourme him to that sorte,
Then in suche hearing his blindnes hath comfort.
These scabbed scolions may do and say their will,
380 When men of worship for very shame are still,
Who that hath wisedome would rather deafe to be
Then dayly to heare suche vile enormitie.

I see in hearing men in the court haue no ioye,
Yet is it pleasour to handle and to toye
385 With Galatea, Licoris or Phillis,
Neera, Malkin or lustie Testalis,
ref.ed: 66
And other dames, yf coyne be in the pouche
Men may haue pleasour them for to fele and touche.
In Court hath Uenus hir power principall,
390 For women vse to loue them moste of all
Which boldly bosteth or that can sing and iet,
Which are well decked with large bushes set,
Which hath the mastery ofte-time in tournament,
Or that can gambauld or daunce feat and gent,
395 Or that can alway be mery without care,
With suche can wemen moste chiefly deale and fare:
So may these courtiers in court some pleasour win
Onely in touching and feling their softe skinne.

Thou art abused, forsooth it is not so,
400 Louers in court haue moste of care and wo.
Some women loue them inflamed by vile lust,
But yet very few dare them beleue or trust:
For well knowe wemen that courtiers chat and bable,
They bost their sinnes, and euer be vnstable
405 After their pleasour, then to the old adewe,
Then be they busy to puruay for a newe.
This knowe all wemen, some by experience,
So fewe to courtiers geue trust or confidence,
Except it be suche as forseth not hir name,
410 Or passeth all feare, rebuke or worldly shame,
Then suche a brothell hir kepeth not to one,
ref.ed: 67
For many courtiers ensueth hir alone.
And none shalt thou loue of this sorte pardee,
But that she loueth another better then thee.
415 And then as often as parting felowes mete
They chide and braule though it be in the strete,
Hatred and strife and fighting commeth after,
Effusion of bloud, and oftentime manslaughter.
Thou canst no woman kepe streite and nigardly,
420 To whom many one doth promise largely.
Another shall come more freshe and gayly decte,
Then hath he fauour and thou art cleane abiecte,
Then thou hast wasted thy money, name and sede,
Then shalt thou haue nought saue a mocke for thy mede,
425 Thou art the ninth wening to be alone,
For none of this sorte can be content with one:
Yet shall she fayne hir chast as Penelope,
Though she loue twentie as well as she doth thee,
And eche for his time shall haue a mery loke.
430 She sigheth as she great sorowe for thee toke,
With fayned teares she moysteneth oft thy lap
Till time that thy purse be taken in a trap,
And if she perceiue that all thy coyne is gon,
Then daunce at the doore, adewe gentle Iohn.
435 And ofte when thou goest to visite thy lemman,
With hir shalt thou finde some other ioly man,
Then shall she make thee for to beleue none other
But he is hir father, hir vncle or hir brother:
But playnly to speake, he brother is to thee,
440 If kinred may rise of suche iniquitie.
ref.ed: 68
Agayne to hir house if that thou after come
Then shalt thou finde that she is not at home,
But gone to some other, which for rebuke and shame
Durst not come to hir for hurting of his name.

445 Here is a rule, this doth excede my minde,
Who would thinke this gile to be in womankinde,
But yet man pardie some be as good within
As they be outwarde in beautie of their skin,
Of this cursed sorte they can not be eche one,
450 Some be which kepe them to one louer alone,
As Penelope was to hir Ulisses.
Thinke on what Codrus recounted of Lucres,
Though she not willing was falsely violate
With hir owne handes procured she hir fate.

455 It were a great wonder among the women all
If none were partles of luste venerall,
I graunt some chast what time they can not chuse,
As when all men their company refuse,
Or when she knoweth hir vice should be detect,
460 Then of misliuing auoydeth she the sect.
And though in the world some women thou mayst find
Which chastly liue of their owne kinde,
Or that can kepe hir-selfe onely to one,
Yet is with suche of pleasour small or none,
465 To hir at pleasour thou canst not resorte:
In pleasour stollen small is the comfort,
Neyther mayst thou longe with suche one remayne,
And in shorte pleasour departing in great payne,
To hir mayst thou come but onely nowe and then,
470 By stealth and startes as priuily as thou can.
ref.ed: 69
Thy loue and thy lorde mayst thou not serue together,
If so, thy wit is distract thou wot not whither,
Thy lorde doth chalenge to him thy whole seruice,
And the same doth loue chalenge in like wise.
475 Not onely it is harde in the court to saue
Thy leman chast with hir pleasour to haue,
But also it is extreme difficultie
Thine owne wife in court to kepe in chastitie,
For flattering woers on euery side appeare,
480 And lustie galandes of fayre dissimuled cheare:
Some promis golde and giftes great and small,
Some hastie galande is yet before them all,
So many woers, baudes and brokers,
Flatterers, liers, and hastie proferers
485 Be alway in court, that chast Penelope
Coulde scant among them preserue hir chastitie.
So great temptation no woman may resist,
If heauenly power hir might do not assist,
For craft and coyne, flattery and instaunce,
490 Turneth chast mindes to vile misgouernaunce,
Though she be honest yet must thou leaue thy loue,
Sith princes courtes continually remoue,
Then whether she be thy wife or thy concubine,
Hir care and dolour is great, and so is thine:
495 For neyther mayest thou with hir abide,
Nor lede hir with thee, or kepe hir by thy side,
ref.ed: 70
When thou art gone if she behinde remayne
Then feare thee troubleth with torment and with payne.
sig: [B2v]
Because that the minde of woman is vnstable
500 Alway thou doubtest least she be changeable,
And I assure thee if man be out of sight
The minde of woman to returne is very light,
Once out of sight and shortly out of minde,
This is their maner appeare they neuer so kinde,
505 Adde to all these scorne and derision
Which thou mayst suffer, and great suspection,
Infamy, slaunder and priuie ielosie,
These muste thou suffer without all remedy,
And other daungers mo then a man can thinke,
510 While other slepeth the louer scant doth winke.
Who hath these proued shall none of them desire,
For children brent still after drede the fire:
Sith that these thinges to all men be greuous,
They be to courtes yet moste dammagious,
515 Moste paynefull, noyous, and playnely importable,
In court them feling hath nothing delectable.

I see the pleasour of touching is but small,
I thought it hony, I see nowe it is gall.
Nowe speake on Cornix, I pray thee brefely tell,
520 What ioye haue courtiers in tasting or in smell,
For these two wittes in court be recreate,
Els many wretches be there infatuate.

The smell and tasting partly conioyned be,
And part disioyned as I shall tell to thee,
ref.ed: 71
525 For while we receyue some meates delicate,
The smell and tasting then both be recreate,
The fragraunt odour and oyntment of swete floure
Onely deliteth the smelling with dolour.
Of meat delicious gone is the smell and tast
530 When it is chewed and through the gorge past,
But they which in mouth have pleasour principall,
Are beastly fooles and of liuing brutall.
The famous shepheard whom Nero did behede
Them greatly blameth which beastly vse to fede,
535 Which for their wombe chiefe care and labour take,
And of their bellies are wont their God to make.

A god of the wombe, that heard I neuer ere.

Coridon thou art not to olde for to lere,
I playnly shall nowe declare for thy sake,
540 Howe beastly gluttons a god of their wombes make:
To God are men wont temples to edifie,
And costly auters to ordeyne semblably,
To ordeyne ministers to execute seruice,
To offer beastes by way of sacrifice,
545 To burne in temples well-smelling incence,
Gluttons to the wombe do all this reuerence.

They and their goddes come to confusion,
Which forgeth Idols by suche abusion,
But procede Cornix, tell in wordes playne,
550 Howe all these thinges they to the wombe ordeyne,
ref.ed: 72
Which is in temple the aulter and incence,
And the ministers to do their diligence,
Within the temple to kepe alway seruice,
And to the belly which is the sacrifice.

555 To god of the belly gluttons a temple make
Of the smoky kitchin, for temple it they take,
Within this temple minister bawdy cookes,
And yong scolions with fendes of their lookes,
The solemne aulter is the boorde or table,
560 With dishes charged twentie in a rable,
The beastes offred in sacrifice or hoste
In diuers sortes of sodden and of roste,
The sawse is incence or of the meate the smell,
And of this temple these be the vessell,
565 Platters and dishes, morter and potcrokes,
Pottes and pestels, broches and fleshe-hokes,
And many mo els then I can count or tell,
They know them best which with the kitchen mell,
For god of the wombe this seruice they prepare,
570 As for their true God full little is their care.

This life is beastly and vtterly damnable.

But yet it is nowe reputed commendable.
Princes and commons and many of religion
Unto this temple haue chefe deuotion,
575 To cookes and tauernes some earlier frequent
Then vnto the seruice of God omnipotent,
First serue the belly then after serue our lorde,
Suche is the worlde though it do ill accorde,
ref.ed: 73
And suche as deliteth in beastly gluttony
580 Foloweth the court, supposing stedfastly
With meat and with drinke to stuffe well the paunch,
Whose luste insatiate no flood of hell can staunch.
And for that princes vse costly meat and wine,
These fooles suppose to fede them with as fine,
585 To eate and drinke as swete and delicate
As doth their princes or other great estate.
Likewise as flyes do folowe and thicke swarme
About fat paunches vnto their vtter harme:
So suche men as haue in gluttony comfort
590 To lordes kitchins moste busely resorte,
With hungry throtes yet go they ofte away,
And ofte haue the flyes much better part then they.

Then tell on Cornix what comfort and pleasour
Men finde in court in tasting and sauour,
595 With meat and drinke howe they their wombes fill,
And whether they spede at pleasour and at will.

To eate and to drinke then is moste ioye and luste
When men be hungry and greued sore with thurst,
But ofte vnto noon muste thou abide respite,
600 Then turned is hunger to dogges appetite,
For playne wood hungry that time is many one,
ref.ed: 74
That some would gladly be gnawing of a bone,
On which vile curres hath gnawen on before,
His purse is empty and hunger is so sore,
605 Or some by feblenes and weery tarying
Lese their appetite that they can eate nothing.
Some other hath eaten some bread and chese before,
That at their diner they list to eate no more,
Their stomake stopped and closed with some crust
610 From them hath taken their appetite and lust,
Then other courtiers of maners bestiall
With greedy mouthes deuoureth more then all.
Thus some at rising be fuller then be swine,
And some for hunger agayne may sit and dine.
615 Sometime together must thou both dine and sup,
And sometime thou dinest before the sunne be vp,
But if thou refuse to eate before day-light
Then must thou tary and fast till it be night,
To eate and to drinke then is it small delite
620 When no disgestion hath stirred appetite.
Agayne thou art set to supper all to late,
All-thing hath season which men of court [do] hate, do] not C, T, P
sig: B3
For neuer shall thy meate be set to thee in season,
ref.ed: 75
Whereof procedeth muche sore vexation,
625 Ofte age intestate departed sodenly,
And lustie galandes departeth semblably,
Hereof procedeth the vomite and the stone,
And other sicknes many mo then one.
Sometime is the wine soure, watery and so bad,
630 That onely the colour might make a man be mad,
Colde without measure or hote as horse-pis,
Bad is the colour the sauour badder is:
But if in the court thou drinke both beare and ale,
Then is the colour troubled, blacke and pale,
635 Thinke not to drinke it in glasse, siluer or golde,
The one may be stollen, the other can not holde,
Of a trene vessell then must thou nedely drinke,
Olde, blacke and rustie, lately taken fro some sinke,
And in suche vessell drinke shalt thou often-time,
640 Which in the bottom is full of filth and slime,
And of that vessell thou drinkest oft iwis
In which some states or dames late did pis:
Yet shalt thou not haue a cup at thy delite
To drinke of alone at will and appetite,
ref.ed: 76
645 Coridon in court I tell thee by my soule
For most parte thou muste drinke of a common boule,
And where gresy lippes and slimy bearde
Hath late bene dipped to make some mad afearde,
On that side muste thou thy lippes washe also,
650 Or els without drinke from diner muste thou go.
In the meane season olde wine and dearely bought,
Before thy presence shall to thy prince be brought,
Whose smell and odour so swete and maruelous
With fragrant sauour inbaumeth all the house,
655 As Muscadell, Caprike, Romney and Maluesy,
From Gene brought, from Grece or Hungary,
Suche shall he drinke, suche shall to him be brought,
Thou haste the sauour thy parte of it is nought,
Though thou shouldest perishe for very ardent thirst
660 No drop thou gettest for to eslake thy lust,
And though good wines sometime to thee be brought
The taste of better shall cause it to be nought,
Oft wouldest thou drinke yet darest thou not sup
Till time thy better haue tasted of the cup.
665 No cup is filled till diner halfe be done,
And some ministers it counteth then to sone,
But if thou begin for drinke to call and craue
ref.ed: 77
Thou for thy calling such good rewarde shalt haue,
That men shall call thee malapart or dronke,
670 Or an abbey-lowne or limner of a monke,
But with thy rebuke yet art thou neuer the nere,
Whether thou demaunde wine, palled ale or beare,
Yet shalt thou not drinke when thou hast nede and thirst,
The cup muste thou spare ay for the better lust,
675 Through many handes shall passe the pece or cup,
Before or it come to thee is all dronke vp,
And then if a droppe or two therin remayne
To licke the vessell sometime thou art full fayne,
And then at the ground some filth if thou espy
680 To blame the butler thou gettest but enuy.
And as men wekely newe holy-water power,
And once in a yere the vessell vse to scoure,
So cups and tankardes in court as thou mayst thinke,
Wherein the commons are vsed for to drinke,
685 Are once in the yere empty and made cleane,
And scantly that well as oftentime is sene.
For to aske water thy wines to allay
Thou finde shalt no nede if thou before assay,
With rinsing of cuppes it tempered is before
690 Because pure water perchaunce is not in store.
ref.ed: 78

Fye on this maner, suche seruice I defy,
I see that in court is vncleane penury,
Yet here though our drinke be very thin and small,
We may therof plenty haue when we do call,
695 And in cleane vessell we drinke therof pardee,
Take here the bottle Cornix, assay and see.

Then call for the priest when I refuse to drinke,
This ale brewed Bently it maketh me to winke.

Thou sayest true Cornix, beleue me, by the rood
700 No hand is so sure that can alway make good,
But talke of the court if thou haste any more,
Set downe the bottle saue some licour in store.

God blesse the brewer well cooled is my throte,
Nowe might I for nede sing hier by a note,
705 It is bad water that can not allay dust,
And very soure ale that can not quench thirst,
Nowe rowleth my tonge, now chat I without payne,
Nowe heare me I enter into the court agayne.
Beholde in the court on common table-clothes,
710 So vile and ragged that some his diner lothes,
Touche them then shall they vnto thy fingers cleue,
ref.ed: 79
And then must thou wipe thy handes on thy sleue.
So he which dayly fareth in this gise
Is so imbrued and noynted in suche wise,
715 That as many men as on his skirtes looke
Count him a scoleon or els a greesy cooke.

Yet Cornix agayne all courting I defye,
More clennes is kept within some hogges stye,
But yet mate Cornix all be not thus I wene,
720 For some table-clothes be kept white and clene,
Finer then silke and chaunged euery day.

Coridon, forsooth it is as thou doest say,
But these be thinges most chiefe and principall,
Onely reserued for greatest men of all:
725 As for other clothes which serue the commontie,
Suche as I tolde thee or els viler be,
And still remayne they vnto the planke cleuing,
So blacke, so baudie, so foule and ill-seming,
Of sight and of cent so vile and abhominable,
730 Till scant may a man discerne them from the table.
But nowe heare what meat there nedes eate thou must,
And then if thou mayst to it apply thy lust:
Thy meate in the court is neyther swanne nor heron,
Curlewe nor crane, but course beefe and mutton,
ref.ed: 80
735 Fat porke or vele, and namely such as is bought
For easter-price when they be leane and nought. easter] easyer T, easier P. Easter price: see White's note, p. 241.
Thy fleshe is restie or leane, tough and olde,
Or it come to borde vnsauery and colde,
Sometime twise sodden, and cleane without taste,
740 Saused with coles and ashes all for haste,
When thou it eatest it smelleth so of smoke
That euery morsell is able one to choke.
Make hunger thy sause be thou neuer so nice,
For there shalt thou finde none other kinde of spice.
745 Thy potage is made with wedes and with ashes,
And betwene thy teeth oft-time the coles crashes,
Sometime halfe-sodden is both thy fleshe and broth,
The water and hearbes together be so wroth
That eche goeth aparte, they can not well agree,
750 And ofte be they salte as water of the sea.
Seldome at chese hast thou a little licke,
And if thou ought haue within it shall be quicke,
All full of magots and like to the raynebowe,
Of diuers colours as red, grene and yelowe,
sig: [B3v]
755 On eche side gnawen with mise or with rattes,
Or with vile wormes, with dogges or with cattes,
Uncleane and scoruy, and harde as the stone,
It loketh so well thou wouldest it were gone.
If thou haue butter then shall it be as ill
ref.ed: 81
760 Or worse then thy chese, but hunger hath no skill,
And when that egges halfe-hatched be almost
Then are they for thee layde in the fire to rost.
If thou haue peares or apples be thou sure
Then be they suche as might no longer endure,
765 And if thou none eate they be so good and fine
That after diner they serue for the swine.
Thy oyle for frying is for the lampes mete,
A man it choketh the sauour is so swete,
A cordwayners shop and it haue equall sent,
770 Suche payne and penaunce accordeth best to lent,
Suche is of this oyle the sauour perillous,
That it might serpentes driue out of an house,
Oftetime it causeth thy stomake to reboke,
And ofte it is ready thee sodenly to choke.
775 Of fishe in some court thy chefe and vsed dishe
Is whiting, hearing, saltfishe and stockfishe,
If the daye be solemne perchaunce thou mayst fele
The taste and the sapour of tenche or ele,
Their muddy sapour shall make thy stomake ake,
780 And as for the ele is cosin to a snake,
But if better fishe or any dishes more
Come to thy parte it nought was before,
Corrupt, ill-smelling, and fiue dayes olde,
ref.ed: 82
For sent thou canst not receyue it if thou would.
785 Thy bread is blacke, of ill sapour and taste,
And harde as a flint because thou none should wast,
That scant be thy teeth able it to breake,
Dippe it in potage if thou no shift can make,
And though white and browne be both at one price,
790 With broune shalt thou fede least white might make thee nice,
The lordes will alway that people note and see
Betwene them and seruauntes some diuersitie,
Though it to them turne to no profite at all,
If they haue pleasour the seruaunt shall haue small.
795 Thy dishes be one continuing the yere,
Thou knowest what meat before thee shall appeare,
This slaketh great parte of luste and pleasour,
Which asketh daynties moste diuers of sapour,
On one dishe dayly nedes shalt thou blowe,
800 Till thou be all wery as dogge of the bowe,
But this might be suffred may fortune easily,
If thou sawe not sweter meates to passe by,
For this vnto courtiers moste commonly doth hap,
That while they haue broune bread and chese in their lap,
805 On it faste gnawing as houndes rauenous,
Anone by them passeth of meate delicious,
ref.ed: 83
And costly dishes a score may they tell,
Their greedy gorges are rapt with the smell,
The deynteous dishes which passe through the hall,
810 It were great labour for me to name them all,
And Coridon all if I would it were but shame
For simple shepheardes suche daynties to name.
With broune bread and chese the shepheard is content,
And scant see we fishe-paste once in the lent,
815 And other seasons softe chese is our food,
With butter and creame then is our diner good.
And milke is our mirth and speciall appetite,
In apples and plommes also is our delite.
These fill the belly although we hunger sore,
820 When man hath inough what nedeth him haue more,
But when these courtiers sit on the benches idle,
Smelling those dishes they bite vpon the bridle,
And then is their payne and anger fell as gall
When all passeth by and they haue nought at all.
825 What fishe is of sauour swete and delicious
While thou sore hungrest thy prince hath plenteous.
Rosted or sodden in swete hearbes or wine,
Or fried in oyle moste saporous and fine,
Suche fishe to beholde and none therof to taste,
830 Pure enuy causeth thy heart nere to brast,
Then seing his dishes of fleshe newe agayne,
Thy minde hath torment yet with muche great payne,
Well mayst thou smell the pasties of a hart
And diuers daynties, but nought shall be thy parte.
ref.ed: 84
835 The crane, the fesant, the pecocke and curlewe,
The partriche, plouer, bittor and heronsewe,
Eche birde of the ayre and beastes of the grounde
At princes pleasour shalt thou beholde abounde,
Seasoned so well in licour redolent
840 That the hall is full of pleasaunt smell and sent,
To see suche dishes and smell the swete odour,
And nothing to taste is vtter displeasour.

Yes somewhat shall come who can his time abide,
And thus may I warne my felowe by my side,
845 What eate softe Dromo, and haue not so great hast,
For shortly we shall some better morsell taste,
Softe man and spare thou a corner of thy belly,
Anone shall be sent vs some little dishe of Ielly,
A legge of a swan, a partriche or twayne.

850 Nay, nay Coridon, thy biding is in vayne,
Thy thought shall vanishe, suche dishes be not small,
For common courtiers of them haue nought at all,
To thy next felowe some morsell may be sent
To thy displeasour, great anguishe and torment,
855 Wherby in thy minde thou mayst suspect and trowe
Him more in fauour and in conceipt then thou.
And sometime to thee is sent a little crap
ref.ed: 85
With sauour therof to take thee in the trap,
Not to allay thy hunger and desire,
860 But by the swetenes to set thee more on fire.
Beside all this sorowe increased is thy payne,
When thou beholdest before thy lorde payne-mayne See OED s.v. pain demaine ="white bread"
A baker chosen and waged well for_thy,
That onely he should that busines apply,
865 If thou one manchet dare handle or els touche,
Because of duetie to thrust it in thy pouche,
Then shall some slouen thee dashe on the eare,
Thou shrinkest for shame thy bread leauing there.

My bagge full of stones and hooke in my hande
870 Should geue me a courage suche boldly to withstand.

Not so Coridon, they fare like to curres,
Together they cleaue more fast then do burres,
Though eche one with other ofte chide, braule and fight,
Agaynst a poore stranger they shewe all their might.
875 It is a great mastery for thee Coridon alone
To striue or contende with many mo then one,
A strawe for thy wisdome and arte liberall,
For fauour and coyne in court worketh all.
Thy princes apples be swete and orient,
880 Suche as Minalcas vnto Amintas sent,
ref.ed: 86
Or suche as Agros did in his keping holde,
Of fragrant sapour and colour like pure golde,
In sauour of whom thou onely haste delite,
But if thou should dye no morsell shalt thou bite.
885 His chese is costly, fat, pleasaunt and holesome,
Though thy teeth water thou eatest not a crume,
Upon the sewer well mayst thou gase and gape,
While he is filled thy hunger is a iape.
Before thy soueraygne shall the keruer stande,
890 With diuers gesture his knife in his hande,
sig: B4
Dismembring a crane, or somewhat deynteous:
And though his parsell be fat and plenteous,
Though vnto diuers thou see him cut and kerue,
Thou gettest no gobbet though thou shuld dye and sterue.
895 In all that thy sight hath delectation,
Thy greedy tasting hath great vexation.
What man will beleue that in such wretched thing,
A courtier may finde his pleasure or liuing.
What man is he but rather would assent
900 That in such liuing is anguish and torment.
May not this torment be well compared thus
ref.ed: 87
Unto the torment of wretched Tantalus,
Which as saide Faustus, whose saying I may thinke,
In floud and fruites may neither eate nor drinke:
905 Auncient Poetes this Tantalus do fayne
In hell condemned to suffer such payne,
That vp to the chin in water doth he stande,
And to his vpper lip reache apples a thousande,
But when he would drinke, the water doth descende,
910 And when he would eate, the apples do ascende.
So both fruite and water them keepeth at a stent,
In middes of pleasures haue courtiers like torment.
But nowe to the table for to retourne agayne,
There haste thou yet another grieuous payne:
915 That when other talke and speake what they will,
Thou dare not whisper, but as one dombe be still.
And if thou ought speake priuy or apert,
Thou art to busy, and called malepert.
If thou call for ought by worde, signe or becke,
920 Then Iacke with the bush shal taunt thee with a chek.
One reacheth thee bread with grutch and murmuring,
If thou of some other demaunde any-thing,
He hath at thy asking great scorne and disdayne,
Because that thou sittest while he standeth in payne.
925 Sometime the seruauntes be blinde and ignoraunt,
And spye not what thing vpon the borde doth want.
If they see a fault they will it not attende,
By negligent scorne disdayning it to mende.
ref.ed: 88
Sometime thou wantest eyther bread or wine,
930 But nought dare thou aske if thou should neuer dine.
Demaunde salt, trencher, spone, or other thing,
Then art thou importune, and euermore crauing:
And so shall thy name be spread to thy payne,
For at thee shall all haue scorne and disdayne.
935 Sometime art thou yrked of them at the table,
But muche more art thou of the seruing rable.
The hungry seruers which at the table stande
At euery morsell hath eye vnto thy hande,
So much on thy morsell distract is their minde,
940 They gape when thou gapest, oft biting the winde.
Because that thy leauinges is onely their part,
If thou feede thee well sore grieued is their heart.
Namely of a dish costly and deynteous,
Eche pece that thou cuttest to them is tedious.
945 Then at the cupborde one doth another tell,
See howe he feedeth like the deuill of hell.
Our part he eateth, nought good shall we tast,
Then pray they to God that it be thy last.

I had leuer Cornix go supperlesse to bed,
950 Then at such a feast to be so bested.
Better is it with chese and bread one to fill,
ref.ed: 89
Then with great dayntie, with anger and ill-will.
Or a small handfull with rest and sure pleasaunce,
Then twenty dishes with wrathfull countenaunce.

955 That can Amintas recorde and testify,
But yet is in court more payne and misery.
Brought in be dishes the table for to fill,
But not one is brought in order at thy will.
That thou would haue first and louest principall
960 Is brought to the borde oft-times last of all.
With bread and rude meate when thou art saciate,
Then commeth dishes moste sweete and delicate.
Then must thou eyther despise them vtterly,
Or to thy hurt surfet, ensuing gluttony.
965 But if it fortune, as seldome doth befall,
That at beginning come dishes best of all,
Or thou haste tasted a morsell or twayne,
Thy dish out of sight is taken soone agayne.
Slowe be the seruers in seruing in alway,
970 But swift be they after, taking thy meate away.
A speciall custome is vsed them among,
No good dish to suffer on borde to be longe.
If the dishe be pleasaunt, eyther fleshe or fishe,
ref.ed: 90
Ten handes at once swarme in the dishe.
975 And if it be flesh, ten kniues shalt thou see
Mangling the flesh and in the platter flee:
To put there thy handes is perill without fayle,
Without a gauntlet or els a gloue of mayle.
Among all these kniues thou one of both must haue,
980 Or els it is harde thy fingers whole to saue:
Ofte in such dishes in court is it seene.
Some leaue their fingers, eche knife is so kene.
On a finger gnaweth some hasty glutton,
Supposing it is a piece of biefe or mutton.
985 Beside these in court mo paynes shalt thou see,
At borde be men set as thicke as they may be.
The platters shall passe oft-times to and fro,
And ouer the shoulders and head shall they go.
And oft all the broth and licour fat
990 Is spilt on thy gowne, thy bonet and thy hat.
Sometime art thou thrust for litle rowme and place,
And sometime thy felowe reboketh in thy face.
Betwene dish and dish is tary tedious,
But in the meane-time thogh thou haue payne greuous,
995 Neyther mayest thou rise, cough, spit or neese,
Or take other easement, least thou thy name may lese.
For such as this-wise to ease them are wont,
ref.ed: 91
In number of rascoldes cou[r]tiers them count. courtiers] couttiers C
Of meate is none houre, nor time of certentie,
1000 Yet from beginning absent if thou be,
Eyther shalt thou lose thy meat and kisse the post,
Or if by fauour thy supper be not lost,
Thou shalt at the least way rebukes soure abide
For not attending and fayling of thy tide.
1005 Onions or garlike, which stamped Testilis,
Nor yet sweete leekes mayst thou not eate ywis.

What, forsake garlike, leekes, and butter sweete?
Nay, rather would I go to Ely on my feete:
We count these deynties and meates very good,
1010 These be chiefe dishes, and rurall mens foode.

Who court frequenteth must loue the dishes sweete,
And lordes dishes to him are nothing mete.
As for our meates they may not eate I thinke,
Because great Lordes may not abide the stinke.
1015 But yet the lordes siege and rurall mens ordure
Be like of sauour for all their meates pure.
As for common meates, of them pleasure is small,
Because one seruice of them continuall
Allayeth pleasure, for voluptuositie
1020 Will haue of dishes chaunge and diuersitie.
And when thou haste smelled meate more delicious,
ref.ed: 92
Thy course dayly fare to thee is tedious.
Nowe iudge Coridon if herein be pleasour,
Me-thinke it anguish, sorowe and dolour,
1025 Continuall care and vtter misery,
Affliction of heart, and wretched penury.
sig: [B4v]
But many fooles thinke it is nothing so,
While they see courters outwarde so gayly go. courter: =courtier
The coursers seruauntes cloth, siluer and golde,
1030 And other like thinges delite they to beholde:
But nought they regarde the inward misery
Which them oppresseth in court continually.
And as saith Seneca, some count them fortunate,
Which outwarde appere well-clothed or ornate.
1035 But if thou behelde their inwarde wretchednes,
Their dayly trouble, their fruitlesse busynes:
Then would thou count them both vile and miserable,
Their rowme and office both false and disceyuable.
For like as men paynt olde walles ruinous,
ref.ed: 93
1040 So be they paynted, their life contrarious,
And therfore all they which serue in court gladly
For taste or smelling, or spice of gluttony,
Haue life more wretched then Burges or merchant,
Which with their wiues haue loue and life pleasant.
1045 Shepherdes haue not so wretched liues as they,
Though they liue poorely on cruddes, chese and whey,
On apples, plummes, and drinke clere water deepe,
As it were lordes reigning among their sheepe.
The wretched lazar with clinking of his bell
1050 Hath life which doth the courters life excell.
The caytif begger hath meate and libertie,
When courters hunger in harde captiuitie.
The poore man beggeth nothing hurting his name,
As touching courters, they dare not beg for shame.
1055 And an olde Prouerbe is sayde by men moste sage,
That oft yonge courters be beggers in their age.
Thus all those wretches which do the court frequent,
Bring not to purpose their mindes nor intent.
But if their mindes and will were saciate,
1060 They are not better thereby nor fortunate.
Then all be fooles (concluding with this clause)
Which with glad mindes vse courting for such cause.

Nowe truely Cornix, right plainly hast thou tolde
ref.ed: 94
Of court and courters the paynes manyfolde
1065 And as I suppose there can no more remayne,
Thy wit and councell hath rid me fro great payne.
If I had plentie of treasure and riches,
I should or I went rewarde thy busynes:
But nede oft hurteth good maners commendable.

1070 What man would gladly geue that is not able?
But one abounding in treasure and riches
Is ware in geuing, or yet to make promes.
Thy will is ynough sith that thy store is thin,
I aske of the foxe no farther then the skin.
1075 But longe is to night, therfore I shall gladly:

What, more yet declare of courtly misery?
Thou haste tolde ynough by all these crosses ten
Almoste for to choke vp a thousand men.

That I promised, right would I should fulfill,
1080 Yet more shall I touche if thou can holde thee still,
I saide first that some (but they be sowen thin)
Resort vnto the court, there soules for to win.
For with great princes while suche men remayne,
They thinke by counsell, by busynes and payne
1085 Chiefely to labour for the vtilitie
Of diuers causes touching the commontie.
Poore men supporting, and children fatherlesse,
And helping widowes also in their distresse,
So much more wening to please our Lord therby,
ref.ed: 95
1090 Because they contende in payne and ieopardy.
Of these must I cure the mindes ignoraunt,
Which be more fooles then all the remnaunt.
All if they repute themselfe neuer so sage,
Yet shall I proue them-selues stuffed with dotage.

1095 Declare that Cornix, that fayne would I heare,
We haue time ynough, yet doth the sunne appere.

Of this foresaide sort scant any finde we shall,
But that requireth some lucre temporall:
But neuerthelesse, nowe fayne we such a one
1100 Which seeketh in court for no promotion,
But onely intende there soules for to win,
And as a champion to fight against sinne.
Should wise men suppose in court so to preuayle?
Lost is their labour, their study and trauayle.
1105 Or should a good man which loueth honestie
Put him in thraldome or in captiuitie
Of princes seruice, his soule to win thereby?
Say men what them list, me-thinketh the contrary.
For in court required, so many a sinne and vice,
1110 And so many wayes from vertue to attice,
And so many meanes leading to viciousnes,
ref.ed: 96
That there may a man scant bide in his goodnes.
For as a bad horse resty and flinging
Oft casteth a man though he be well sitting:
1115 In like maner, wise man and rightwise
Resorting to court, descendeth vnto vice,
All if his reason and wil also deny,
In court hath the fende such fraude and pollicie,
By meane that vices haue there no punishment,
1120 For lust and suffraunce make mindes insolent.
But sinne and sinners lye dayly so in wayte
Against good liuing to lay their deadly bayte,
That the best liuers from way of grace decline,
By their occasion impelled to ruine:
1125 He falleth in rockes and perill consequent
By force of tempest and windes violent.

What man, in court is neither rocke nor sande,
Diffusely thou speakest to vnderstande.

I speake in parable, or by similitude,
1130 Who not perceaueth, his reason is but rude:
But mate Coridon, I tell thee before
That what I shall say or yet haue close in store:
Of diuers aucthours I learned of Codrus,
And he it learned of Shepherde Siluius.
1135 This Codrus sayde that Plato the great sage
Of Athens court aduerting the outrage,
Purposed rather to flee to sollitude,
ref.ed: 97
Then liue in honour among such vices rude.
Then knowe well thy-selfe whatsoeuer thou be
1140 Which to sue the court haste thy felicitie.
And note if thy-selfe be better then Plato,
Note well the power, if thou haue will also
As well as Plato, ill custome to refrayne,
If thou so thinkest, thou thinkest thing in vayne.
1145 In court must a man sayle after euery winde,
Himselfe conforming to euery mans minde.
Serue euery season, conforme him to the time,
Be common with mo, though it be in some crime.
He must rule nature, and yet he wot not whither,
1150 After the season, nowe hither and nowe thither.
And in his maner he must direct his life, his (=T, P): this?
With heuy persons him must he shewe pensife.
With men at leasure which will them recreate,
He must be iocunde after their vse and rate.
sig: [B5]
1155 With aged persons he must him haue sadly,
With youth behaue him iocunde and meryly.
With auenterous men which seke on crueltie
He must shewe him bolde and of audacitie.
With liuers beastly, insuing carnall lust,
1160 Liue lecherously forsooth he needes must.
And who-so refuseth, then is his nature wronge,
He shall not in the court rise nor continue longe.
But Coridon, thou might obiect vnto me more,
ref.ed: 98
That the sayde Plato which fled from court before
1165 Came longe while after, and was in seruice
Of Dionisius the tiraunt of Silice.
It is as thou sayest, but harken to the ende:
This tirauntes vice while he did reprehende,
All if the tiraunt counted his name diuine,
1170 As vnder colour to folowe his doctrine,
The cruell tiraunt his malice to fulfill,
Solde this same Plato maugre his minde and will.
But thus intreated was Plato not alone,
The wrath of princes proued haue many one,
1175 And namely of such as wisest were ywis,
As Zenon murdred by tiraunt Phalaris:
His godly wisedome, nor honour of his age
Could him not succoure, so did the tiraunt rage.
Arracreontes (sometime of Cipres king)
1180 Slewe Anaxagoras for all his great cunning.
And by commaundement of Theodoricus
Without all mercy was slayne Boecius.

These be farre matters, and thinges very olde.

Euen such they be, as Codrus to me tolde.
1185 And yet many mo he counted to me playne
ref.ed: 99
Of worthy clearkes, whom fell princes haue slayne.
But all to recount me-thinke it is not best,
That asketh leasure, the Sunne is nere at rest.
Scant time remayneth to tell that is beside,
1190 Except we purpose here all the night abide.

Late at our Churche-al[e] syr Sampson to me tolde ale] alley C, ale T, P
A tale of Moses and other Prophetes olde,
Howe the same Moyses, and many of like sort
To Princes courtes did often-time resort.
1195 He saide that Moses though he of tonge were rude
Left his whole flocke behinde in sollitude,
And he with Aaron together both did go
On Gods message vnto king Pharao.
Also syr Sampson recounted vnto me
1200 A like narration of Prophete Helise.
But Cornix, my minde is muche obliuious,
And longe historyes to heare be tedious.

As touching Moyses, and many Prophetes mo,
I graunt they were wont to princes for to go:
1205 These men were godly, it folly were to say
That all men should haue such priuiledge as they.
These were messengers of God of Israell,
And finde can we not that they in court did dwell.
But when they had sayde Gods commaundement,
1210 They left both court and Princes incontinent.
Ioseph alonely abode with Pharao,
Th'ordinaunce of God had erst disposed so,
ref.ed: 100
To helpe his nation in time after to come
By his prouision and maruelous wisedome.
1215 I graunt thee also Mauricius and Martine,
Sebastian, George, and other men diuine
Serued in court, and vsed chiualry,
And neuerthelesse they liued holyly.
But this Mauricius did christned become,
1220 And with his legion receyued martirdome.
Likewise Saynt George and Saint Sebastian
Despising ydoles which courtes vsed then,
Suffered harde death by manifolde torment
For loue and true fayth of God omnipotent.
1225 But during the time, these did in the court remayne,
No names of Saintes men gaue to them certayne.
And holy Martin when he was come to age
Gaue ouer the court, and fixed his courage
In Gods seruice, remayning stedfastly,
1230 For he perceyued and knewe right perfitly,
That of poore widowes and children fatherlesse,
The cause not entreth into the court doubtlesse,
Their matters quealeth, for solde is all Iustice,
And euery speeche of ribaudry and vice:
1235 Also in courtes of mercy found is nought,
And of religion no zeale if it were sought.
Enuy possesseth the place of charitie,
Onely ambition hath there aucthoritie.
ref.ed: 101
These vices to resist passeth humane doctrine,
1240 Man they ouercome, except wisedome diuine.
If God do not succoure, it passeth mans might
With such occasion continually to fight.
This knewe Saint Martin by sight continuall,
Yet nought him moued by helpe celestiall.
1245 And though he liued in court right holyly,
He would no lenger insue that chiualry:
Nor leaue example to other men to come,
To liue where reygneth no vertue nor wisedome.
As when it was asked of Christ our Sauiour,
1250 What should a man do of penaunce or labour,
Or other deedes to win eternall blisse,
He bad not a man runne to the court ywisse,
He saide not: go folowe a prince, or Lorde or king,
But go sell thy riches and other worldly thing:
1255 Despise all the world and worldly vanitie,
For so haue I done, then come and folowe me.
In this cause our Lorde hath made no mention
Of folowing the court for vayne promotion.
Then let men take heede though they be vertuous,
1260 Least while they folowe a thing so perillous,
In court supposing their soules for to win,
Least there they lose them by falling into sinne,
ref.ed: 102
For there be snares and giles infinite,
The fende is ready occasion to excite.
1265 In euery corner some enuy shalt thou mete,
And stumbling-stones lye hid before thy fete.
Full harde it is there ambition to refrayne,
Auarice to slake it is a great payne.
To tame enuy, and wrath to mitigate,
1270 And in occasion vnclenlynes to hate.
Harde is it dayly to be amonge these same,
And none of them all thy pleasure to inflame.
But if there be any which can his lust subdue,
Amonge all vices to kepe them in vertue,
1275 As a precious stone cleane in the middes of mire,
Or lye in flames not grieued with the fire:
Or touche soft pitche and not his fingers file.
If such one be founde within a thousand mile,
I will not denye but that he may well sue
1280 After court, and folowe, not hurting his vertue:
So much more merite shall such a man procure,
Howe much more he doth of ieopardie indure.
But this is my minde and sure opinion,
That such as resort vnto the court eche one
1285 Be rather ouercome by sinne and viciousnes,
Then they can vices vanquish and repres:
ref.ed: 103
For man of his nature is apt to sinne and vice,
And with great hardnes doth vertue exercise.
Example of children, which if they haue their will
1290 Be lesse disposed to goodnes then to ill.
sig: [B5v]
I heard Minalcas sing this vnto his drone,
That Scripture sayth that mankinde is [more] prone. more] not C, P, nat T
In youth and age his pleasure to insue,
In easy lustes then hardnes of vertue.
1295 Therfore I councell thy-selfe my Coridon,
Amintas, Codrus and shepherdes eche one.
And all of other men which will them saue fro hell,
That none of them all presume with court to mell.
For there is the soule in ieopardie by crime,
1300 And after life is lost by surfet or due time.
And eyther must a man vnto his prince assent,
Laugh at his vices and be with them content.
Then lost is thy soule, els his faultes blame,
Then shalt thou his ire against thee inflame.
1305 As Cirus the king sometime of Persy lande
Had one Arpolus chiefe frende of a thousand:
Because Arpolus once blamed his offence,
The wrathfull tiraunt by mad maliuolence
Caused Arpolus vnwarely at a feaste
1310 To eate his children as they like meate were drest.
ref.ed: 104
And thus Arpolus to his children was a graue:
For blaming thy prince such reward mayest thou haue.
Right so Cambises in hastie furour slewe
The sonne of his frend which was to him most true,
1315 Because that his frende him blamed for dronkennes.
Of such examples be many mo doubtlesse.

I haue heard Codrus oft-times testify
Howe Aristotle prince of Philosophy
Sued the tentes with laude and honour
1320 Of Alexander the mighty conquerour.

Thou litle knowest what caused him do so,
Of if he freely had libertie to go,
Truely I suppose it was against his heart
And that he might not at libertie depart.
1325 But many other right worthy hye honour
Also insued that mightie conquerour.
As Calistenes of hye discretion,
And also Crito, which was his nurses sonne.
And bolde Lichimachus folowed him in fight, fight: sight? (T, P=fyght)
1330 Which was a Philosopher, and eke a worthy knight.
And many mo els that I can count or tell:
But heare Coridon what vnto these befell.
ref.ed: 105
For that Calistenes forbad men to honour
Great Alexander as God of moste valour,
1335 After such custome as was in Persy lande,
Therfore had he cut from body foote and hande,
His nose and eares off trenched were also,
His eyne out digged for to increase his wo:
Then by commaundement of the conquerour
1340 Was thrust into prison to bide in more dolour,
Enduring his life there euer to remayne:
But when Lisimachus for to make short this payne
Reached him poyson, his cruell conquerour
Made him be throwen to lyons to deuour.
1345 And at a banket (as erst was touched playne)
By Alexander was the saide Crito slayne,
For blaming of him, because that he did blame
His fathers deedes, Philippus by name.
Therfore Coridon, after my iudgement,
1350 And as I beleue, thou wilt thereto assent.
They all be fooles which sue to court so sore,
For all such causes as touched are before.
Or to win soules be there content to serue,
Their owne soule putting in daunger for to sterue:
1355 For eyther do they seeke and hunt about in vayne,
ref.ed: 106
And their desires there shall they not obtayne,
Or that thing they seeke, which shall do them damage,
Els be they throwen in suche a blinde dotage,
That of two wayes they chose moste ieopardous,
1360 All full of thornes and busynes perillous,
All if they might well to their desire attayne
By way more easy, more short and voyde of payne.

O maruelous matter, and well brought to an ende,
I can not be able thy reason to commende,
1365 Nor yet to rewarde the thing that thou haste done,
Though I had riches and wit like Salomon.
Thou haste me saued by councell sapient
Out of hell-mouth and manyfolde torment.
But nowe is it time to drawe to our cotage,
1370 The day is ended, right so is our language.


Thus endeth the seconde Egloge of the misery of courtes and courtiers.
sig: [B6]
ref.ed: 107

Here beginneth the thirde and last Egloge of the misery and behauour of Court and Courtiers.

AFter sore labour sweete rest is delectable,
And after long night day-light is comfortable,
And many wordes requireth much drinke,
The throte wel washed, then loue the eyn to wink.
5 This night with me it proued otherwise,
I dranke to bedwarde (as is my common gise:)
But suche rest had I till it was on the morne,
As had my mother the night that I was borne.

Of that I maruayle, for thou art wont alway
10 To sleepe and to snort till time that it be day.
But howe happened this, nowe tell me Coridon,
That thou had this night so sore vexation.

I was so drenched with dreames, a_dread so sore,
I trowe neuer man was troubled so before.
15 Me-thought in the court I taken was in trap,
And there sore handled, God geue it an ill hap.
Me-thought the scullians like fendes of their lookes
Came some with whittels, some other with fleshhokes.
Me-thought that they stoode eche one about me thicke
20 With kniues ready for to flay me quicke.
So had I (sleeping) as much of feare and dreade,
As I should (waking) haue lost my skin in-deede.
With such a vision I troubled was all night,
Wherfore I ioyed what time I sawe day-light.
25 For as soone as euer I heard the birdes peepe,
For feare of dreames no lenger durst I sleepe:
But start fro my bed, as lightly was I prest,
Almoste as a birde out-flyeth from her nest.
So caught I my male, my bottell and my hooke,
30 And forth with my flocke anone my way I tooke.
But tell me Cornix I pray thee heartyly,
ref.ed: 108
What thing this my dreame may note and signify.

I dreade least some-one fulfilled with ill-will
Hath heard our talking, and it reported ill.
35 Which may vs after cause rather weepe then sing,
For ill-will maketh the worst of euery-thing.
But then doth one thing well confort me agayne,
Forst men are wont of that to dreame certayne Forst (=T; Fyrst P): For oft?
Wherewith their mindes in walking troubled be: walking (T=walkynge, P=walkyng): waking?
40 A strawe for dreames, they be but vanitie.
And as for me, I no man discommende,
If scabbed clawe, the truth shall me defende.
But how Coridon, thy head is in thy lap,
What nowe so early beginnest thou to nap?

45 Who hath not slept nor rested all the night
Must slepe by day, els shall his brayne be light.
But Cornix, if thou list me for to keepe and wake,
Talke of some matters agayne for Gods sake.
For so shall the time ouerpasse with litle payne,
50 God knoweth when we shall mete after agayne.

I graunt Coridon for recreation
Of court yet to haue more communication.

All misery of court thou haste already tolde.

Nay nay Coridon, not by a thousande-folde:
55 We shall haue matter nere till this yeres ende
To talke of Courtes, if I might it intende.
But this one day of part well may we talke,
As for the other I force not, let it walke.

Then sit downe Cornix, leane here against this banke,
60 As for our talking, we get but litle thanke.

We get as muche almoste as we deserue,
ref.ed: 109
I looke for no thanke, nor meate though I should sterue.
In court shall men finde yet many paynes mo,
Some shall I touche, let all the other go.
65 Because that of sleeping was our first commoning,
Heare nowe what paynes haue courtiers in sleeping.
They oftentime sleepe full wretchedly in payne,
And lye all the night forth in colde winde and rayne.
Sometime in bare strawe, on bordes, ground or stones,
70 Till both their sides ake, and all their bones.
And when that one side aketh and is wery,
Then turne the other, lo here a remedy.
Or els must he rise and walke him-selfe a space,
Till time his ioyntes be setled in their place.
75 But if it be fortune thou lye within some towne
In bed of fethers, or els of easy downe.
Then make thee ready for flyes and for gnattes,
For lise, for fleas, punaises, mise and rattes.
These shall with biting, with stinking, din and sound
80 Make thee worse easement, then if thou lay on ground.
And neuer in the court shalt thou haue bed alone,
Saue when thou wouldest moste gladly lye with one.
Thy shetes shal be vnclene, ragged and rent,
Lothly vnto sight, but lothlyer to cent.
85 In which some other departed late before
Of the pestilence, or of some other sore.
Such a bedfelowe men shall to thee assigne,
ref.ed: 110
That it were be[t]ter to slepe among the swine. better] beter C
So foule and scabbed, of harde pimples so thin,
90 That a man might grate hard crustes on his skin.
And all the night longe shall he his sides grate,
Better lye on grounde then lye with such a mate.
One cougheth so fast, anothers breath doth stinke,
That during the night scant mayest thou get a winke.
95 Sometime a leper is signed to thy bed,
Or with other sore one grieuously bested.
Sometime thy bedfelowe is colder then is yse,
To him then he draweth thy cloathes with a trice.
But if he be hote, by feuers then shall he
100 Cast all the cloathes and couerlet on thee.
sig: [B6v]
Eyther is thy felowe alway to thee grieuous,
Or els to him art thou alway tedious.
And sometime these courtiers them more to incumber,
Slepe all in one chamber nere twenty in number.
105 Then it is great sorowe for to abide their shoute,
Some fart, some flingeth, and other snort and route.
Some boke, and some bable, some commeth dronk to bed,
Some braule and some iangle when they be beastly fed.
Some laugh, and some crye, eche man will haue his wil,
110 Some spue, and some pisse, not one of them is still.
Neuer be they still till middes of the night,
And then some brawleth and for their beddes fight.
And oft art thou signed to lodge nere the stable,
ref.ed: 111
Then there shalt thou heare of rascoldes a rable.
115 Sometime shalt thou heare howe they eche other smite,
The neying of the horses, and howe eche other bite.
Neuer shalt thou knowe thy lodging or thy nest,
Till all thy betters be setled and at rest.
In Innes be straungers and gestes many one,
120 Of courtiers liues make there conclusion.
And where they be knowen of neither man or wife,
Oft-time Courtiers there ende their wretched life.
Then shall the hostler be their executour,
Or such other ribaude shall that was his deuour.
125 Making the Tapster come gay and feate,
His shirt, his doublet or bonet to excheate,
For fleshe that he bought and payde nought therefore,
Then is she extreame, for he shal come no more.
But in a common In if that thou lodge or lye,
130 Thou neuer canst lay vp thy gere so priuily,
But eyther it is stollen, or chaunged with a thought,
And for a good thou haste a thing of nought.
For some arrant thieues shall in the chamber lye,
And while thou sleepest they rise shall priuily:
135 All if thou thy pouche vnder thy pillowe lay,
Some one crafty searcher thereat shall haue assay.
Baudes and brothels, and flattering tapsters,
Iugglers and pipers, and scuruy wayfarers.
ref.ed: 112
Flatterers and hostlers, and other of this sect
140 Are busy in thy chamber, chatting with none effect.
With brauling they enter first pagiant to play,
That nought mayest thou here what wiser men do say.
Such is their shouting that scantly thou mayst here,
The secrete felowe, which by thy side is nere.
145 But rurall flimmers, and other of our sort
Unto thy lodging, or court when they resort,
They chat, they bable, and all but of the wombe,
More pert and more pieuish then they wold be at home,
Though thou would slepe, induring all the night,
150 Some sing, some mourne, their lemman out of sight.
Some sing of Bessy, and some of Nan or cate,
Namely when licour disturbed hath the pate.
The brothell boteman and wretched laborer
Ceasse not to singe, be vitayle neuer so dere.
155 Who can with such haue quietnes or rest,
But if thou with slepe at last be opprest,
And that sore labours to sleepe thee constrayne,
Rumour thee rayseth, and wakeneth agayne.
On morning when thou might sleepe moste quietly,
160 Then must thou arise there is no remedy.
ref.ed: 113
For what time thy Lorde vnto his horse is prest,
Then ought no seruaunt lye in his bed at rest.

Nowe Cornix I see that with a brauling wife
Better were to bide continuing my life,
165 And to heare children crying on euery side
Then thus in the court this clamour to abide.

No doubt Coridon, but heare more misery,
Which in their lodging haue courtiers commonly.
Men must win the marshall or els herbegere, herbegere: see OED s.v. harbinger n.
170 With price or with prayer, els must thou stand arere.
And rewarde their knaues must thou if thou be able,
For to assigne thee a lodging tollerable.
And though they promise, yet shall they nought fulfill,
But poynt the place nothing after thy will.
175 Eyther nere a priuy, a stable or a sinke,
For cent and for clamour where thou can haue no wink.
After thy rewarde they shall thee so manace,
That malgre thy teeth thou must resigne thy place.
And that to some-one which is thy enemy,
180 If they be pleased there is no remedy.
But yet for certayne it were thing tollerable
To becke and to bowe to persons honorable.
As to the marshall, or yet the herbeger,
Or gentle persons which vnto them be nere.
ref.ed: 114
185 But this is a worke, a trouble and great payne,
Sometime must thou stoupe vnto a rude vilayne.
Calling him master, and oft clawe his hande,
Although thou would see him wauer in a bande.
For if thou liue in court, thou must rewarde this rable,
190 Cookes and scoliens, and farmers of the stable.
Butlers and Butchers, prouenders and Bakers,
Porters and poulers, and specially false takers.
On these and all like spare must thou none expence,
But mekely with mede bye their beneuolence.
195 But namely of all it is a grieuous payne
To abide the porter, if he be a vilayne.
Howe often-times shall he the gates close
Against thy stomake, thy forehead or thy nose.
Howe oftentimes when thy one fote is in
200 Shall he by malice thrust thee out by the chin.
Sometime his staffe, sometime his clubbishe feete
Shal driue thee backward, and turne thee to the streete.
[Whan he the seyth], comming if he sit, Whan he the seyth] What he then sayth C, What he the sayth T, Whan he the seyth P
Howe often-times shall he the gates shit.
205 For very pleasure and ioy of thy comming
The gate he closeth, lo here a pleasaunt thing.
All if thou haste well rewarded him before,
Without thou standest in rayne and tempest sore.
And in the meane-time a rascolde or vilayne
210 Shall enter while thou art bathed in the rayne.
ref.ed: 115
Sometime the porter his malice shall excuse,
And say vnto thee thy labour to abuse:
That eyther is the Lorde asleepe or in councell,
Then lost is thy labour, mispent is thy trauell.

215 Of our poore houses men soone may knowe the gin,
So at our pleasure we may go out and in.
If courtes be suche, me-thinketh without doubt,
They best be at ease which so remayne without.
For better be without wet to the skin with rayne,
220 Then euer in court and liue in endlesse payne.
For if hell-gates did not still open gape,
Then wretched soules great torment should escape.
Right so, if the court were close continually,
Some men should escape great payne and misery.
225 But Cornix proceede, tell on of courtiers care.

Well sayde Coridon, God geue thee well to fare.
Nowe would I speake of paynes of the warre,
But that me-thinketh is best for to defarre.
For if thy lorde in battayle haue delite
230 To sue the warre be paynes infinite.
For while he warreth thou mayst not bide at home,
Thy lust to cherishe, and pleasure of thy wombe.
To sue an army then haste thou wretched payne
Of colde or of heate, of thirst, hunger and rayne.
235 And mo other paynes then I will specify,
For nought is in warfar saue care and misery: warfar: =warfare
sig: C1
Murder and mischiefe, rapines and cowardise,
Or els crueltie, there reigneth nought but vice,
Which here to recounte were longe and tedious,
240 And to our purpose in parte contrarious.
Therfore let passe the warres misery,
The dredefull daungers and wretched penury,
ref.ed: 116
And of these Cities talke we a worde or twayne,
In which no man can liue auoyde of payne,
245 For whither-soeuer the court remoue or flit
All the vexations remoue alway with it.
If thou for solace into the towne resorte
There shalt thou mete of men as bad a sorte,
Which at thy clothing and thee shall haue disdayne,
250 If thou be busy the club shall do thee payne,
There be newe customes and actes in like wise,
None mayst thou scorne, nor none of them despise,
Then must thou eche day begin to liue anewe.
And do as they do, be it false or trew. Line supplied from P.
255 As for in Cities I will no more remayne,
But turne my talking nowe to the court agayne,
After of this may we haue communication
Of cities and of their vexation.
Whether that thy lorde sit or yet stande erect
260 Still muste thou stande or els shalt thou be chekt,
Thy head and legs shall finde no rest nor ease:
If thou in court intende alway to please
Oft muste thou becke, still stande and euer bare
To worse then thy-selfe, which is a payne and care.
265 What shall I common the pensiuenes and payne
Of courtiers or they their wages can obtayne,
Howe muche differring and how much abating
ref.ed: 117
Must courtiers suffer, and manifolde checking,
Neuer hast thou the whole, sometime shall they abate,
270 Or els shall the day of payment be to late,
From Robert to Iohn sometime they shall thee sende,
And then none of both to paye thee may intende,
From poste vnto piller tossed shalt thou be,
Scorned and blinded with fraude and subtiltie.
275 Some mayst thou beholde sighing for great sorowe
When he is appoynted to come agayne to_morowe,
For many a morowe hath he bene serued so:
Another standeth his heart replete with wo,
Counting and turning the grotes in his cap,
280 Praying God to sende the payer an ill hap,
For where he reckned for to receyue a pounde
Scant hath he halfe, suche checkes be there founde,
Neuer shall the courtier receyue whole salary
Except that he rewarde the payer priuily.
285 When nede constrayneth somewhat to haue before,
He gladly receyueth a dosen for a score,
Neuer canst thou make thy couenaunt so cleare
But that the payer shall bring thee far areare,
All if thou right well thy couenaunt fulfill
290 It shall the payer interprete at his will,
For all that blinde sorte are choked with auarice,
As catchers of coyne ensuing couetise,
But sometime to speake of thinges necessary,
These do all courtiers cares multiply,
295 Nowe for one thing they labour to obtayne,
ref.ed: 118
Nowe for another, and often all in vayne,
And though their asking be neyther right ne iust,
Yet neuer stint they till they haue had their lust.
But if it fortune their prayer and their cost
300 Be spent in vayne, then is their reason lost,
Then lurke they in corners for a month or twayne
For wo that their labour and prayer was in vayne.
Some with their princes so stande in fauour
That they may aduaunce their kinred to honour,
305 But then is their kinred so bad of gouernaunce,
That al if they may they dare not them aduaunce,
But howebeit they durst they dread of worldly shame,
Or punishement of God, or els their princes blame.

Nowe doubtles Cornix that man is muche vnwise
310 Which lifteth fooles vnworthy to office,
But oftetime fauour and carnall affection
Abuseth the right, blinding discretion.

If thou hadst mused a yere for this one clause
Thou could not haue said more perfitely the cause.
315 Beside this Coridon fewe, by the lorde aboue,
Haue of these courtiers true, sure and perfite loue,
For Codrus tolde me what writeth Isocrate,
That all these princes and euery great estate
In louing regarde no vertue nor prudence,
320 None loue they but of some hastie violence,
ref.ed: 119
Without aduisement, without discretion,
Suche loue ofte proueth faynt at conclusion.
But if they loue any they loue him not as frende,
Betwene like and like best frendship shall we finde.
325 For truely great lordes loue suche men with delite,
By them when they take some pleasour or profite,
As they loue horses, dogges, and mo suche,
What saide I, I lye, they loue them not so muche:
More loue they a horse or dogge then a man,
330 Aske of Minalcas, the truth declare he can.
For commonly as sone as any man is dead
Another is soone ready for to fulfill his stead,
With mede and with prayer his place is dearely bought,
So oft haue princes their seruice cleare for nought:
335 But then if it fortune a dogge or horse to dye,
His place to fulfill another muste they by.
Yet little haue I saide, worse in the court they fare,
Not onely thy lorde shall for thy death nought care,
For thy longe seruice ofte shall he wishe thee dead,
340 Suche is in court thy salary and thy mede.
Eyther for thy seruice longe and continuall
Thou haste of thy lorde receyued nought at all,
And when thou art dead with short conclusion,
Then quite is thy seruice and obligation,
ref.ed: 120
345 And ofte shall thy lorde sounde swetely foorth this A
A that this man so sone is gone away,
If he had liued longer a small season
I should haue put him to great promotion:
Or els if thy lorde haue well rewarded thee,
350 That thou haste liuelod and riches in plentie,
Then if thou dye beleue me for certayne,
He surely trusteth to haue all agayne:
Scant any riche man by death hence nowe shall fare
But that some great lorde will loke to be his heyre.

355 That is no leasing but proued often true,
That caused widowes oftentimes sore to rewe,
But this hath bene sene forsooth and euer shall,
That the greater fishe deuoureth vp the small.

A right true example mate Coridon doubtlesse,
360 So mightie rulers the simple folke oppresse.
But what care in court is, now heare me Coridon,
Concerning thy lorde or masters owne person:
Of princes or commons thou findest seldome-time,
One parfitely good and spotted with no crime,
365 For all suche thinges as seldome-time befall
Tully was wont them monsters for to call,
Then is a good man more monster in-dede,
Then is a wether [h]auing a double head. hauing] bauing C
And in likewise rehearseth Iuuenall,
ref.ed: 121
370 That if a man would seke ouer the worlde all,
So many good men vnethes finde should he
As there are gates in Thebes the Citie.
sig: [C1v]
That is to saye vnder the cope of heauen
Of perfite good men scant shall a man finde seuen.
375 And holy scripture yet speaketh more streitly,
As shepheard Dauid doth clerely testify,
He saide our Lorde beholding on mankind
Could scant one good in all the worlde finde.
Scripture recordeth suche clauses many one,
380 That men be sinners and God is good alone.

What nowe mate Cornix, I make God auowe,
Thou hast in some friers bosome bene I trowe,
And spoyled some patche of his prechement,
Talke of the court, saue this in store for Lent.

385 So was my purpose, thou nedest not obiect,
Of our first purpose these wordes haue effect.
ref.ed: 122
I tolde thee before by good aucthoritie
Howe both the poetes and oratours agree.
And holy scripture, that fewe men be perfite,
390 But bad in number be truely infinite.
So if thy master be bad and worthy blame
Then art thou sory of his dishonest name,
Thy lordes vices and liuing negligent
Shall greue thy stomake if thou be innocent:
395 It greueth thee if he be couetous or harde,
Because he denieth thy labour to rewarde,
And for many thinges fayle by his negligence,
And fall to ruine for sparing of expence.
Agayne if thy lorde be free and liberall
400 Alway thou fearest least other men haue all,
His prodigall hande ofte vexeth sore thy heart,
Least at the ending nought shall come to thy part,
And least his treasour in folly so he spende
That nothing remayne to helpe him at the ende.
405 But if he be geuen to wrath and crueltie
Thou fearest least he rage agaynst thy kin or thee,
If he be meke, milde and sober thou art sory,
For he not reuengeth eche hurt and iniury,
If he be hardie then dreadest thou daunger,
410 When he procedeth then standest thou arere,
If he be a cowarde then haste thou great enuy
Agaynst his enemies, for they continually
ref.ed: 123
Destroy his landes and sore his name distayne,
When he for dread dare do nothing agayne.
415 If he vse chatting and often be talking,
Well thou perceiuest that while his tong is walking
His priuie counsell he often doth detect,
And muche he speaketh which is of none effect.
If he be secret and still as one in slepe,
420 Thou sayest he doubteth that none can counsell kepe,
And thee suspecteth as muche as other mo,
Then art thou greued and full of care and wo.
If he loue wines and thou fearest dronkennes,
If he hate wines and thou blamest his sadnes,
425 And to his body thou countest him nigarde,
Because he would kepe his housholde the more harde.
To Uenus actes if he to muche apply,
Thou sayest he to many doth hurt and iniury,
If he hate women and flee their pleasour, then
430 Both thou and other reputest him no man.
With fewe men if he vse familiaritie
Thou art displeased of them if thou not be,
If he be common to all indifferent,
Then is thy minde in likewise discontent,
435 Because he loueth familier to be
To euery person as greatly as with thee,
But if that thy prince be good and thou be nought
Then art thou in likewise sore vexed in thy thought,
ref.ed: 124
Least that he shortly thy seruice may despise,
440 Because he not liueth after thy lewde gise.
But if both be good and all of vices cleane,
Which is a thing that seldome-time is sene,
Then monest thou for that he is not fortunate
As he is ordeyned and after his estate,
445 Thy heart and minde doth so to him incline
That all his troubles and paynes shall be thine,
For this without doubt I tell thee Coridon,
That no father is so tender ouer his son
As is a good seruaunt diligent and true
450 Unto a noble prince endued with vertue.
And all if good fortune to him be fauourable.
Yet still thou dredest because it is vnstable.
Thus neuer shalt thou slepe in peace and quietnes,
But when thou wakest thy rest is muche lesse.

455 Because thou recountest of thy fidelitie,
Of masters and men which loueth honestie,
Nowe I remember the shepheard of the fen,
And what care for him demeaned all his men.
And shepheard Morton when he durst not appeare,
460 Howe his olde seruauntes were carefull of his chere.
In payne and pleasour they kept fidelitie,
Till grace agayne gaue him aucthoritie,
Then his olde fauour did them agayne restore
To greater pleasour then they had payne before,
465 Though for a season this shepheard bode a blast,
The greatest winde yet slaketh at the last,
ref.ed: 125
And at conclusion he and his flocke certayne
Eche true to other did quietly remayne.
My harte sore mourneth when I must specify
470 Of the gentle Cocke whiche sange so mirily,
He and his flocke were like an vnion,
Conioyned in one without discention,
All the fayre Cockes which in his dayes crewe
When death him touched did his departing rewe,
475 The pretie palace by him made in the fen,
The maides, widowes, the wiues and the men,
With deadly dolour were pearsed to the heart
When death constrayned this shepheard to departe.
Corne, grasse and fieldes mourned for wo and payne,
480 For oft his prayer for them obtayned rayne,
The pleasaunt floures for wo faded eche one
When they perceyued this shepheard dead and gone,
The okes, elmes and euery sorte of dere
Shronke vnder shadowes, abating all their chere,
485 The mightie walles of Ely monastery,
The stones, rockes, and towres semblably,
The marble pillers and images echeone,
Swet all for sorowe when this good cocke was gone,
Though he of stature were humble, weake and leane,
490 His minde was hye, his liuing pure and cleane,
Where other feedeth by beastly appetite,
On heauenly foode was all his whole delite.
And shortly after this Cocke was dead and gone
The shepheard Roger could not bide long alone,
495 But shortly after false death stole him away,
His worthy reporte yet liueth till this day.
When shepe wer scabbed this good shepherd was fayne
With easie salues their sores to cure agayne,
He nought pretended nor shewed of rigour,
500 Nor was no wolfe poore lambes to deuour,
When bushe or brambles pilled the shepes skin,
Then had he pitie and kept them close within,
Or in newe fleces did tenderly them lap,
ref.ed: 126
And with his skirtes did oftentime them hap,
505 When he departed his flocke for wo was faynt,
The fouldes sounded with dolour and complaynt,
So that their clamour and crye bespred the yle,
His death was mourned from Ely forty mile.
These worthy heardes and many other mo
510 Were with their wethers in loue conioyned so,
sig: C2
That more they cured by witte and pacience,
Then dreadfull drome can do with violence. drome] Drome T, Dromo P
Therfore all heardes vnto the wolde I trowe
Should laude their names if vertue reigned nowe,
515 But sith that cunning and vertue nere be gone
Nowe be they lauded forsooth of fewe or none.
I let thy purpose to make conclusion,
Uice liueth, vertue hath light obliuion,
But speake on Cornix yet is it long to night,
520 My minde to disclose causeth my heart be light.

To laude these pastours wherfore haste thou delite?

Coridon] Cornix C
All other shepheardes to vertue to excite.

Then be thy wordes nothing mispent in vayne,
But nowe to courtes will I returne agayne.
525 And namely for thou haste spoken of cunning
Me liste a little to common of that thing.
It is to clarkes great pleasour certaynly
And recreation to geue them to studie,
And some finde pleasour and recreation
530 In secrete study and meditation,
To write or to rede in places solitary,
Whole to the muses his reason to apply,
ref.ed: 127
To talke with Plato, with Tulli or Uirgill,
With Aristotle to common at his will,
535 And other famous doctours many one.

What man, all these long past be dead and gone,
Who would with these dispute, common or talke,
To go where they be shall finde a wery walke.

Though they be dead aliue yet is their name,
540 Their laudes, honour, their hye reporte of fame,
So men deuiseth to speake with them in-dede
As often as they their noble workes rede.
But as for courtiers as well earely as late
Be of this pleasour vtterly priuate,
545 Though they liue idle their paynes infinite
To godly workes them graunteth no respite,
Alway in clamour remayne they and in preace.
And lewde acquayntaunce will them no time releace,
But if that they chose some season secretly
550 To some good study their mindes to apply,
To write or to read, anone some wretch is fayne
And glad them to vexe and to disturbe agayne,
But if all other be absent and at rest
Then nere their chamber the kitchin-clarke is prest.
555 Iengling his counters chatting him-selfe alone,
Thus seke all corners quiet thou findest none.
ref.ed: 128
So must one despise those noble oratours,
The famous poetes and excellent doctours,
And liue among men auoyde of vertues all,
560 That rather a man rude beastes may them call.
Of great estates there is a blinded sorte,
Which cause their sonnes vnto the court resorte,
That they may in court themselfe dayly frequent
In learning vertue and maners excellent,
565 But better might they say to learne all malice,
All cursed maners and euery braunch of vice,
As pride, disdayne, enuy and ribaudrie,
So be good maners infect with villanie.
For surely in courtes be men most vicious,
570 Supporting vices to vertue contrarious,
Dishonest language is counted most laudable,
One bosteth baudry or gluttony damnable,
No man there vaunteth him-selfe of honestie,
Of vertue, maners, of mercy and pitie,
575 But eyther he ioyeth of his mischeuous life,
To haue defiled a virgin or a wife,
Or els to haue slayne his foe or enemie,
Or fraude committed or crafty felony.
Which cursed maners youth sooner doth insue,
580 Then godly liuing or maners of vertue,
ref.ed: 129
When youth in vices hath fixed their courage,
They by no meanes shall leaue the same in age,
Nor thinke not in court to finde a yonge stripling,
Chast, sober, shamefast or maners ensuing,
585 All sueth vices, all sue enormitie,
Suche be the disciples as their infourmers be,
For true is the clause rehearsed of Terence,
That youth enclined then namely to offence,
When a lewde master him moued to incline
590 By ill example to daunger and ruine.
For nature leaneth to all enormitie
When men so vseth which be in dignitie.
Youth thinketh lawfull and but a ioconde fit
Suche vice as elders vse dayly to commit,
595 And as yong braunches sone rotte and putrify,
So youth corrupteth by vices semblably.

Be all yonge galandes of these abused sorte,
Whiche in yonge age vnto the court resorte?

Who entreth the court in yong and tender age
600 Are lightly blinded with folly and outrage,
But such as entreth of witte and grauitie
Bowe not so soone to suche enormitie,
But or they enter if they haue learned nought
Afterwarde is cunning the least part of their thought.
605 In court it is counted vice to haue science,
ref.ed: 130
And counted for rebuke for to haue eloquence,
Thus haue men cunning great heauines and payne
Beholding them-selues in court had in disdayne,
Their wit despised: in meane-time shall they see,
610 That greatest matters ruled (nay marred) be
Of suche blinde fooles as can not count nor tell
A score saue twentie, yet moste of all suche mell.
But men vnlearned of inwarde payne haue some,
When they beholde that to the court be come
615 Men groundly learned, in Latin commoning,
The other hearken and vnderstande nothing,
Then truely it is to them a greeuous payne,
But neuerthelesse of them haue they disdayne.
But liuing in court and flying none offence,
620 What shall I common what grutch of conscience
Uexeth thee dayly, right small is thy delite
When troubled conscience vnquiet doth thee bite.
No payne is sorer nor greeuouser torment
Then to remember and call to thine intent
625 Howe many vices, howe great enormitie
Hath thee in thraldome and in captiuitie,
Thine owne conscience is still within thy brest
As tormentour, depriuing thee of rest,
With priuie scourges and payne intollerable,
ref.ed: 131
630 Recounting thy workes and life abhominable,
Thou mayst not auoyde and from this enemy start,
Flee where thee liketh he resteth in thy heart,
This is courtiers the deadly tormentour,
With desperation them seking to deuour.
635 Sometime their conscience grutched is with gile,
With theft, with murther, with lechery some-while,
Though their own conscience thus torment them wi t h payn
To the same offences returne they yet agayne,
Their conscience grutching to cause of grutch they fall,
640 Thus still them torment the furies infernall,
sig: [C2v]
I meane remembraunce of manyfolde offence,
Continuall torment by grutche of conscience.
What shall I tell thee the payne of soden feare
Which doth the mindes of courtiers often deare,
645 Sometime the lower are greeued with threatning,
And suffer paynes when they haue done nothing.
ref.ed: 132
Sometime while the court is daunsing in disport
Or in other solace their heartes to comfort,
Anone commeth in a sodeyn messangere,
650 Affirming truely some armed foes nere,
And that same army is neare at hande doubtles,
Then turneth solace to wo and heauines,
And while some princes for pleasour hauke or hunt,
Suche fearefull tidinges to heare ofte are they wont.

655 Suche feare and daunger doth happen commonly
On all degrees with sodeyn ieopardy,
For plowmen, shepheardes and citizens also
By warre endureth great dammage, losse and wo.

All other sortes sometime may stande afarre,
660 But courtiers must bide all daunger of warre,
Saue losse of goodes, for some haue nought to lose,
But this will I leaue and turne to my purpose.
No gifte is graunted of God vnto mankinde
Better then frendship when man it true may finde,
665 But ouer all the court no man shall finde nor see
True stedfast frendship nor perfite amitie,
For sith all courtiers for moste parte blinded be
With vicious liuing and all enormitie,
They haue no frendship but conspiration,
670 And to do mischiefe confederation.
For perfite frendship is when two men agree
Or mo, in working some dede of honestie.
ref.ed: 133
Some courtiers be founde which seme ingenious,
Pregnaunt of reason, wise and laborious,
675 Yet haue they but shadowe of vertue and goodnes,
And not of vertues the playne signes expres,
Some seme liberall, but they ensue rapine,
Some seme very chast, but they to pride incline,
Some semeth humble, which vseth gluttony,
680 And some familier which leane to lechery,
In none mayst thou see one sparkle of vertue,
But twentie vices shall that one gift ensue.
In suche a meany full of iniquitie
Harde is to finde one worthy amitie,
685 But if thou in court some honest men awayte
Then with great rulers is he made in conceyt,
I[f] he from conceyt and out of fauour be If] It C
Thou mayst not with him haue familiaritie.
Sometime shalt thou see suche drawen to torment
690 As be thy frendes, faultles and innocent,
And ofte thy enemie in many a fault culpable
Thou shalt in the court see hye and honorable:
To see thy good frende bide death so wrongfully,
To sorowe and nought say is a great payne truely,
ref.ed: 134
695 But yet for thy life say nought, be pacient,
Not onely whisper least thou haue like torment.
Conuersaunt muste thou be with suche to thy payne
Which haue thy father or els thy brother slayne.
If thou be busy or squaring of language
700 Thou mayst peraduenture walke in the same passage.
And if thou in court to riches so assende
That thou mayst reteyne men on thee to attende,
Some of thy seruauntes shalt thou oft-time beholde
Lewdely disposed to vices manyfolde,
705 Some shall be theues, some dronkenner then swine,
Some shall loue brauling or to lying encline,
Some slowe, some gluttons, some fall to ribaudry
Aduoutry, murther, with other villany.
Some be forgetfull, some peart, some insolent,
710 Some craftles fooles, some proude and negligent,
If thou chaunge, some better for to haue,
Thou voydest a lubber and hast agayne a knaue,
And if thou haue one with knauishenes infect,
Then all the other shall folowe the same secte.
715 Agayne if thy-selfe be poore and a seruaunt,
Thou shalt finde thy master rashe, rude and ignoraunt,
Alway complayning, and neuer well content,
Ofte asking seruice, in paying negligent,
Of speche superflue, hastie and rigourous,
720 Enuious, dronken, vnstable and couetous.
Thus seruaunt, master, gentleman and villayne,
Liue all in court with misery and payne.
ref.ed: 135

Nowe truely Cornix this is a wretched life,
Uoyde of all pleasour, wrapped in payne and strife.

725 Count all the rowmes and offices echeone,
And none shalt thou finde without vexation,
What thinke the counsell when princes not agree
To their aduisement of moste vtilitie?
What haue Chauncelers of inwarde displeasour
730 When their letters written to their princes honour,
For the common-weale and sure vtilitie,
Can not passe forwarde till they transposed be
From good to right nought, corrupt for correct?
What thinke comtrollers when they be dayly chekt,
735 The rulers of court, vsher and senescall,
Treasorers, clerkes, and euery marshall,
What payne haue these echeone in his office,
When often ribaudes them sclaunder and despise,
Or some busy-body hauing but small insight
740 Comptroll their countes be they neuer so right?
What payne haue chaplens comptrolled in seruice,
And phisitians when some their arte despise?
What knightes, trompeters and souldiers commonly,
ref.ed: 136
When treasorers their wages doth deny?
745 What payne haue cookes whiche scant maye seeth their befe
Without some rebuke, a checke or a reprefe?
Coridon in court no roume is trust thou me,
But that is wrapped in great aduersitie,
But briefly to say and make conclusion,
750 Right-wise men suffer great tribulation
The heauenly pleasour to purchase and obtayne,
More suffreth courtiers to purchase endles payne.
I mell not with them which of necessitie
Agayne their pleasour must in the court be
755 As busy suters to purchase droit and right,
Which would be thence right gladly if they might.

Beleue me Cornix thou turned hast my minde,
Farewell all courting, adewe pleasour vnkinde,
Thou playne hast proued that all they fooles be
760 Which folowe the court seking captiuitie,
And might els-where an honest life purchase,
Hauing suffisaunce and moderate solace.

Then let all shepheardes from hence to Salisbury,
With easie riches liue well, laugh and be mery.
765 Pipe vnder shadowes, small riches hath most rest,
In greatest seas moste sorest is tempest.
The court is nought els but a tempesteous sea,
ref.ed: 137
Auoyde the rockes, be ruled after me,
There is more daunger then is vppon the lande,
770 As swalows, rockes, tempest and quicke-sande.
Mayrmaydes singing, abusing with their song,
Caribdis, Sylla, and sandy bankes longe,
sig: C3
In it be cliffes of hardest Adamant
To sinne exciting yonge fooles ignorant.
775 What shepherd loueth peace and tranquilitie,
Or rest requireth to liue in vnitie,
Swete peace of heart who-euer doth require,
Or health of his soule if any man desire,
Flee from the court, flee from the court I crye,
780 Flee proude beggery and solemne miserye.
For there is no rest nor godly exercise,
No loue of vertue, but vse of euery vice,
As auarise, lust, and beastly gluttony,
Crueltie, malice, ambition and enuy:
785 But namely Uenus or luste venerall,
To hir vile actes playnly subdueth all,
Upon which vices who fixeth his intent
Him-selfe to defende hath he no argument,
But that of all wise men, honest and laudable,
790 He shal be conuict of liuing reprouable,
ref.ed: 138
A naturall foole of reason dull and rude,
Proface Coridon, thus do I here conclude.

Conclude mote thy life in blessed state of grace
Mine owne heart Cornix for this thy good solace,
795 But haste thou touched all whole and perfitely
Of court and courtiers the payne and misery.

Nay, nay Coridon, I tolde thee so before,
Muche haue I tolde, behinde is muche more,
Their inwarde crimes and vice abhominable,
800 Their outwarde raging in sinnes detestable,
Their theft and fraudes, and their extortion,
And of misliuers their supportation,
Their dayly murther and forsing of women,
Frauding of virgins, pilling of simple men,
805 Aduoutry, incest and fornication,
And of good virgins the defloration.
These and suche-like dare I not playnly touche,
For all these crosses and siluer in my pouche.

Then haste we hence the sonne is nere at rest,

810 Take vp thy baggage my mate that now is best.

But tell me Cornix one thing or we departe,
On what maner life is best to set my harte?
In court is combraunce, care, payne and misery,
And here is enuy, ill-will and penury.

815 Sufferaunce ouercommeth all malice at the last,
Weake is that tree which can not bide a blast,
But heare nowe my counsell I bid thee finally,
Liue still a shepheard for playnly so will I.
ref.ed: 139

That shall I Cornix thy good counsell fulfill,
820 To dye a shepheard established is my will.

So do, or after thou often shall repent,
Poore life is surest, the court is but torment.

Adewe swete Cornix, departing is a payne,
But mirth reneweth when louers mete againe.

Thus endeth the thirde and laste Egloge of the miseries of Courtes and Courtiers.
ref.ed: 140

The fourth Egloge of Alexander_Barclay, entituled Codrus and Minalcas , treating of the behauour of Riche men agaynst Poetes.

¶The Argument.
COdrus a shepheard lusty, gay and stoute,
Sat with his wethers at pasture round about,
And poore Minalcas with ewes scarse fourtene
Sat sadly musing in shadowe on the grene.
5 This lustie Codrus was cloked for the rayne,
And doble-decked with huddes one or twayne,
He had a pautner with purses manyfolde,
And surely lined with siluer and with golde,
Within his wallet were meates good and fine,
10 Both store and plentie had he of ale and wine,
Suche fulsome pasture made him a double chin,
His furred mittins were of a curres skin,
Nothing he wanted longing to cloth or foode,
But by no meane would he depart with good.
15 Sometime this Cod[ru]s did vnder shadowe lye Codrus] Codurs C
Wide open piping and gaping on the skye,
Sometime he daunced and hobled as a beare,
Sometime he pried howe he became his geare,
He lept, he songe, and ran to proue his might,
20 When purse is heauy oftetime the heart is light.
But though this Codrus had store inough of good,
He wanted wisedome, for nought he vnderstood
Saue worldly practise his treasour for to store,
Howe-euer it came small forse had he therfore.
25 On the other side the poore Minalcas lay,
With empty belly and simple poore aray,
Yet coulde he pipe and finger well a drone,
But soure is musike when men for hunger grone.
Codrus had riches, Minalcas had cunning,
30 For God not geueth to one man euery-thing.
ref.ed: 141
At last this Codrus espied Minalcas,
And soone he knewe what maner man he was,
For olde acquayntaunce betwene them earst had bene,
Long-time before they met vpon the grene,
35 And therfore Codrus downe boldly by him sat,
And in this maner began with him to chat.

sig: [C3v]

Codrus first speaketh.
AL hayle Minalcas, nowe by my fayth well met,
Lorde Iesu mercy what troubles did thee let,
That this long season none could thee here espy?
With vs was thou wont to sing full merily,
5 And to lye piping oftetime among the floures,
What time thy beastes were feding among ours.
In these olde valleys we two were wont to bourde,
And in these shadowes talke many a mery worde,
And oft were we wont to wrastle for a fall,
10 But nowe thou droupest and hast forgotten all.
Here wast thou wont swete balades to sing,
Of song and ditie as it were for a king,
And of gay matters to sing and to endite,
But nowe thy courage is gone and thy delite,
15 Trust me Minalcas nowe playnly I espy
That thou art wery of shepheardes company,
And that all pleasour thou semest to despise,
Lothing our pasture and fieldes in likewise,
Thou fleest solace and euery mery fitte,
20 Leasing thy time and sore hurting thy witte,
ref.ed: 142
In sloth thou slombrest as buried were thy song,
Thy pipe is broken or somwhat els is wrong.

What time the Cuckowes fethers mout and fall,
From sight she lurketh, hir song is gone withall,
25 When backe is bare and purse of coyne is light,
The wit is dulled and reason hath no might:
Adewe enditing when gone is libertie,
Enemie to Muses is wretched pouertie,
What time a knight is subiect to a knaue
30 To iust or tourney small pleasour shall he haue.

What no man thee kepeth here in captiuitie,
And busy labour subdueth pouertie,
And oft it is better and much surer also
As subiect to obey then at freewill to go,
35 As for example beholde a wanton colte
In raging youth leapeth ouer hill and holte,
But while he skippeth at pleasure and at will
Ofte-time doth he fall in daunger for to spill,
Sometime on stubbes his hofes sore he teares,
40 Or fals in the mud both ouer head and eares,
Sometime all the night abrode in hayle or rayne,
And oft among breres tangled by the mayne,
And other perils he suffreth infinite,
So mingled with sorowe is pleasour and delite:
45 But if this same colte be broken at the last,
His sitter ruleth and him refrayneth fast,
The spurre him pricketh, the bridle doth him holde,
That he can not praunce at pleasour where he wolde,
The rider him ruleth and saueth from daunger.
50 By which example Minalcas it is clere
That freewill is subiect to inconuenience,
Where by subiection man voydeth great offence,
For man of him-selfe is very frayle certayne,
But ofte a ruler his folly doth refrayne,
55 But as for thy-selfe thou hast no cause pardie,
ref.ed: 143
To walke at pleasour is no captiuitie.

Seest thou not Codrus the fieldes rounde about
Compassed with floudes that none may in nor out,
The muddy waters nere choke me with the stinke,
60 At euery tempest they be as blacke as inke:
Pouertie to me should be no discomforte
If other shepheardes were all of the same sorte.
But Codrus I clawe oft where it doth not itche,
To see ten beggers and halfe a dosen riche,
65 Truely me-thinketh this wrong pertition
And namely sith all ought be after one.
When I first behelde these fieldes from a_farre,
Me-thought them pleasant and voyde of strife or warre,
But with my poore flocke approching nere and nere
70 Alway my pleasour did lesse and lesse appeare,
And truely Codrus since I came on this grounde
Oft vnder floures vile snakes haue I founde,
Adders and todes and many fell serpent,
Infecte olde shepe with venim violent,
75 And ofte be the yonge infected of the olde,
That vnto these fewe nowe brought is all my folde.

In some place is neyther venim nor serpent,
And as for my-selfe I fele no greuous sent.

It were great maruell where so great grounde is sene,
80 If no small medowe were pleasaunt, swete and clene,
As for thee Codrus I may beleue right weele,
That thou no sauour nor stinke of mud dost feele,
For if a shepheard hath still remayned longe
In a foule prison or in a stinking gonge,
85 His pores with ill ayre be stopped so echeone
That of the ayre he feleth small sent or none,
And yet the dwellers be badder then the place,
The riche and sturdie doth threaten and manace
The poore and simple and suche as came but late,
ref.ed: 144
90 And who moste knoweth him moste of all they hate,
And all the burthen is on the Asses backe,
But the stronge Caball standeth at the racke.
And suche be assigned sometime the flocke to kepe
Which scant haue so muche of reason as the shepe,
95 And euery shepheard at other hath enuy,
Scant be a couple which loueth perfitely,
Ill-will so reygneth that brauling be thou sure,
Constrayned me nere to seke a newe pasture,
Saue onely after I hope of better rest,
100 For small occasion a birde not chaungeth nest.

Wel ere thou graunted that in a large grounde
Some plot of pleasour and quiet may be founde,
So where of heardes assembled is great sorte,
There some must be good, then to the best resorte.
105 But leaue we all this, turne to our poynt agayne,
Of thy olde balades some would I heare full fayne,
For often haue I had great pleasour and delite
To heare recounted suche as thou did endite.

Yea, other shepheardes which haue inough at home,
110 When ye be mery and stuffed is your wombe,
Which haue great store of butter, chese and woll,
Your cowes others of milke replete and full,
Payles of swete milke as full as they be able,
When your fat dishes smoke hot vpon your table,
115 Then laude ye songes and balades magnifie,
If they be mery or written craftily,
Ye clappe your handes and to the making harke,
And one say to other, lo here a proper warke.
ref.ed: 145
But when ye haue saide nought geue ye for our payne,
120 Saue onely laudes and pleasaunt wordes vayne,
All if these laudes may well be counted good,
Yet the poore shepheard must haue some other food.

Mayst thou not sometime thy folde and shepe apply,
And after at leasour to liue more quietly,
125 Dispose thy wittes to make or to endite,
Renouncing cures for time while thou dost write.
sig: [C4]

Nedes must a Shepheard bestowe his whole labour
In tending his flockes, scant may he spare one houre:
In going, comming, and often them to tende,
130 Full lightly the day is brought vnto an ende.
Sometime the wolues with dogges must he chace,
Sometime his foldes must he newe compace:
And oft-time them chaunge, and if he stormes doubt,
Of his shepecote dawbe the walles round about:
135 When they be broken, oft-times them renue,
And hurtfull pastures note well, and them eschue.
Bye strawe and litter, and hay for winter colde,
Oft grease the scabbes as well of yonge as olde.
For dreade of thieues oft watche vp all the night,
140 Beside this labour with all his minde and might,
For his poore housholde for to prouide vitayle,
If by aduenture his wooll or lambes fayle.
ref.ed: 146
In doing all these no respite doth remayne,
But well to indite requireth all the brayne.
145 I tell thee Codrus, a stile of excellence
Must haue all laboure and all the diligence.
Both these two workes be great, nere importable
To my small power, my strength is muche vnable.
The one to intende scant may I bide the payne,
150 Then it is harder for me to do both twayne.
What time my wittes be clere for to indite,
My dayly charges will graunt me no respite:
But if I folowe, inditing at my will,
Eche one disdayneth my charges to fulfill.
155 Though in these fieldes eche other ought sustayne,
Cleane lost is that lawe, one may require in vayne:
If coyne commaunde, then men count them as bounde,
Els flee they labour, then is my charge on grounde.

Cornix oft counted that man should flee no payne,
160 His frendes burthen to supporte and sustayne:
Feede they thy flocke, while thou doest write and sing,
Eche horse agreeth not well for euery-thing.
Some for the charet, some for the cart or plough,
And some for hakneyes, if they be light and tough.
165 Eche fielde agreeth not well for euery seede,
Who hath moste labour is worthy of best mede.

After inditing then gladly would I drinke,
To reach me the cup no man doth care ne thinke:
And ofte some fooles voyde of discretion
170 Me and my matters haue in derision.
ref.ed: 147
And meruayle is none, for who would sowe that fielde
With costly seedes, which shall no fruites yelde.
Some wanton body oft laugheth me to scorne,
And saith: Minalcas, see howe thy pilche is torne,
175 Thy hose and cokers be broken at the knee,
Thou canst not stumble, for both thy shone may see.
Thy beard like bristels, or like a porpos-skin,
Thy cloathing sheweth, thy winning is but thin:
Such mocking tauntes renueth oft my care,
180 And nowe be woods of fruit and leaues bare.
And frostie winter hath made the fieldes white,
For wrath and anger my lip and tonge I bite:
For dolour I droupe, sore vexed with disdayne,
My wombe all wasteth, wherfore I bide this payne:
185 My wooll and wethers may scarsly feede my wombe,
And other housholde which I retayne at home.
Leane by my lambes, that no man will them bye,
And yet their dammes they dayly sucke so dry,
That from the vthers no licoure can we wring,
190 Then without repast who can indite or sing.
It me repenteth, if I haue any wit,
As for my science, I wery am of it.
And of my poore life I weary am, Codrus,
Sith my harde fortune for me disposeth thus,
195 That of the starres and planettes eche one
ref.ed: 148
To poore Minalcas well fortunate is none.
Knowen is the truth if it were clerely sought,
That nowe to this time I still haue songe for nought:
For youth is lusty, and of small thing hath nede,
200 That time to age men geue no force nor heede.
Ages condition is greatly contrary,
Which nowe approcheth right still and craftyly,
But what time age doth any man oppresse,
If he in youth haue gathred no riches:
205 Then passeth age in care and pouertie,
For nede is grieuous with olde infirmitie:
And age is fetred oft-time with care and neede,
When strength is faded and man hath nought to feede,
When strength is faded, then hope of gayne is gone,
210 In youthes season to make prouision.
The litle Emmet is wise and prouident,
In summer working with labour diligent,
In her small caues conueying corne and grayne
Her life in Winter to nourish and sustayne:
215 And with her small mouth is busy it cutting,
Least in her caues the same might growe or spring.
So man of reason himselfe reputing sage,
In youth should puruey, to liue theron in age.

Men say that clerkes which knowe Astronomy,
220 Knowe certayne starres which longe to desteny:
But all their saying is nothing veritable,
ref.ed: 149
Yet heare the matter, though it be but a fable.
They say that Mercury doth Poetes fauoure,
Under Iupiter be princes of honour:
225 And men of riches, of wealth or dignitie,
And all such other as haue aucthoritie:
Mercury geueth to Poetes-laureate
Goodly conueyaunce, speeche pleasaunt and ornate,
Inuentife reason to sing or play on harpe,
230 In goodly ditie or balade for to carpe.
This is thy lot, what seekest thou riches?
No man hath all, this thing is true doubtlesse.
God all disposeth as he perceyueth best,
Take thou thy fortu[n]e, and holde thee still in rest:
235 Take thou thy fortune, and holde thy-selfe content,
Let vs haue riches and rowmes excellent,

Thou haste of riches and goodes haboundaunce,
And I haue dities and songes of pleasaunce:
To aske my cunning to couetous thou art,
240 Why is not thy-selfe contented with thy part,
Why doest thou inuade my part and portion,
Thou wantest (Codrus) wit and discretion.

Not so Minalcas, forsooth thou art to blame,
Of wronge inuasion to geue to me the name.
ref.ed: 150
245 I would no ditie nor ballade take thee fro,
No harpe nor armes which long to Apollo:
But onely, Minalcas, I sore desire and longe
To geue mine eares to thy sweete-sounding song.
It feedeth hearing, and is to one pleasaunt,
250 To heare good reason and ballade consonant.

If thou haue pleasure to heare my melody,
I graunt thee Codrus to ioy my armony,
So haue I pleasure and ioy of thy riches,
So giftes doubled increaseth loue doubtlesse.
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255 He of my riches hath ioy which loueth me,
And who me hateth, nothing content is he.
Enuious wretches by malice commonly
Take others fortune and pleasure heauyly.

In likewise mayst thou inioy of our science,
260 And of our Muses though thou be fro presence:
And of our cu[n]ning thou ioyest semblably,
If nought prouoke thee by malice and enuy.
If I feede thy eares, feede thou my mouth agayne,
I loth were to spende my giftes all in vayne.
265 Meate vnto the mouth is foode and sustenaunce,
And songes feede the eares with pleasaunce.
I haue the Muses, if thou wilt haue of mine,
ref.ed: 151
Then right requireth that I haue part of thine.
This longeth to loue, to nourish charitee,
270 This feedeth pitie, this doth to right agree.
This is the pleasure and will of God aboue,
Of him disposed for to ingender loue.
All pleasaunt giftes one man hath not pardie,
That one of other should haue necessitie.
275 No man of him-selfe is sure sufficient, sufficient] sufficistent C, sufficient Pyn
This is prouision of God omnipotent.
That one man should neede anothers assistence,
Thereby is ioyned loue and beneuolence.
Englande hath cloth, Burdeus hath store of wine,
280 Cornewall hath tinne, and lymster wools fine.
London hath scarlet, and Bristowe pleasaunt red,
Fen-lande hath fishes, in other place is lead.
This is of our Lorde disposed so my brother
Because all costes should one haue neede of other.
285 So euery tree hath fruit after his kinde,
And diuers natures in beastes may we finde.
Alway when nature of thing is moste laudable,
That thing men counteth most good and profitable.
And euery person in his owne gift hath ioy
290 The foole in his bable hath pleasure for to toy.
The clerke in his bookes, the merchaunt in riches,
The knight in his horse, harnes and hardynes.
But euery person of his giftes and art,
When nede requireth should gladly geue some part.
295 Suche meane conioyneth in bonde of loue certayne,
Englande and Fraunce, Scotlande, Grece and Spain.
So hast thou Codrus of golde ynough in store,
And I some cunning, though fewe men care therfore.
ref.ed: 152
Thou art beholden to Iupiter truely,
300 And I beholden to pleasaunt Mercury.
Ioyne we our starres, let me haue part of thine,
Concorde to cherishe, thou shalt haue part of mine.
Make thou Iupiter be frendly vnto me,
And our Mercury shal be as good to thee.
305 If thy Iupiter geue me but onely golde,
Mercury shall geue thee giftes manyfolde.
His pillion, scepter, his winges and his harpe,
If thou haue all these thou mayst grathly carpe.
And ouer all these geue thee shall Mercury
310 The knot of Hercules inlaced craftyly.

Lorde God, Minalcas, why haste thou all this payne
Thus-wise to forge so many wordes in vayne.

That vayne thou countest which may hurt or inlesse inlesse: see OED s.v. inless ="make less"
Thy loued treasure, or minishe thy riches:
315 If thou wilt harken or heare my Muses sing,
Refreshe my mindes with confort and liking, mindes: occurs elsewhere in pl. T, Pyn=mynde
Rid me fro troubles and care of busynes,
Confort my courage which nowe is comfortlesse.
A clerke or poete combined with a boye,
320 To haunt the Muses or write hath litle ioye.
The wit and reason is dull or of valour
Like as the body is called to honour.
When busy charges causeth a man to gro[n]e,
The wit then slumbreth, and Muses all be gone.
325 A ditie will haue minde quiet and respite,
ref.ed: 153
And ease of stomake, els can none well indite,
I sighe, I slumber, care troubleth oft my thought,
When some by malice mine art setteth at nought.
I hewle as a kite for hunger and for [c]olde, colde] golde C, colde Pyn
330 For thought and study my youth appereth olde:
My skin hath wrinkles and pimples round about,
For colde and study I dreade me of the gowte.
When sickenes commeth then life hath breuitie
By false vnkindnes and wretched pouertie.
335 If men were louing, benigne and charitable,
Then were pouertie both good and tollerable:
But since charitie and pitie both be gone,
What should pouertie remayne behinde alone.
No man hath pitie, eche dayneth me to feede,
340 I lost haue confort, but still remayneth neede:
I haue no wethers nor ewes in my folde,
No siluer in purse, I knowe not what is golde:
No corne on the grounde haue I whereon to fare,
Then would thou haue me to liue auoyde of care.
345 Nay nay frende Codrus, trust me, I thee assure
Such maner salues can not my dolour cure.
Make thou me iocunde, helpe me with cloth and foode,
Clothe me for winter with pilche, felt and hoode.
Auoyde all charges, let me sit in my cell,
350 Let worldly wretches with worldly matters mell.
Succoure my age, regarde my heares gray,
Then shalt thou proue and see what thing I may:
ref.ed: 154
Then shalt thou finde me both apt to write and sing,
Good-will shall fulfill my scarcenes of cunning,
355 A plentifull house out-chaseth thought and care,
Soiourne doth sorowe there where all-thing is bare,
The seller couched with bere, with ale or wine,
And meates ready when man hath lust to dine.
Great barnes full, fat wethers in the folde,
360 The purse well-stu[ff]ed with siluer and with golde. stuffed] stusted C, stuffed Pyn
Fauour of frendes, and suche as loueth right
All these and other do make thee full light,
Then is it pleasure the yonge maydens amonge
To watche by the fire the winters nightes longe:
365 At their fonde tales to laugh, or when they brall,
Great fire and candell spending for laboure small,
And in the ashes some playes for to marke,
To couer wardens for fault of other warke.
To toste white sheuers, and to make prophitroles,
370 And after talking oft-time to fill the bowles.
Where wealth aboundeth without rebuke or crime,
Thus do some heardes for pleasure and pastime:
As fame reporteth, such a Shepherde there was,
Which that time liued vnder Mecenas.
375 And Titerus (I trowe) was this shepherdes name,
I well remember aliue yet is his fame.
He songe of fieldes and tilling of the grounde,
Of shepe, of oxen, and battayle did he sounde.
ref.ed: 155
So shrill he sounded in termes eloquent,
380 I trowe his tunes went to the firmament.
The same Mecenas to him was free and kinde,
Whose large giftes gaue confort to his minde:
Also this Shepherde by heauenly influence
I trowe obtayned his pereless eloquence.
385 We other Shepherdes be greatly different,
Of common sortes, leane, ragged and rent.
Fed with rude frowise, with quacham, or with crudd,
Or slimy kempes ill-smelling of the mud.
Such rusty meates inblindeth so our brayne,
390 That of our fauour the muses haue disdayne:
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And great Apollo despiseth that we write,
For-why rude wittes but rudely do indite.

I trust on fortune, if it be fauourable,
Mu trust fulfilling, then shall I well be able
395 Thy neede to succoure, I hope after a thing,
And if fortune fall well after my liking,
Trust me Minalcas, I shall deliuer thee
Out of this trouble, care and calamitie.

A Codrus Codrus, I would to God thy will
400 Were this time ready thy promise to fulfill
After the power and might that thou haste nowe.
Thou haste ynough for both, man God auowe.
If thy good minde according with thy might,
At this time present thou should my heart well light.
ref.ed: 156
405 I aske not the store of Cosmus or Capell,
With silken robes I couete not to mell.
No kinges dishes I couete nor desire,
Nor riche mantels, or palles wrought in Tire:
No cloth of golde, of Tissue nor veluet,
410 Damaske nor Sattin, nor orient Scarlet.
I aske no value of Peters costly cope,
Shield of Minerua, nor patin of Esope.
I aske no palace, nor lodging curious,
No bed of state, of rayment sumptuous.
415 For this I learned of the Dean of Powles,
I tell thee Codrus, this man hath won some soules.
I aske no treasure not store of worldly good,
But a quiet life, and onely cloth and foode,
With homely lodging to keepe me warme and drye
420 Induring my life, forsooth no more aske I.
If I were certayne this liuing still to haue,
Auoyde of trouble, no more of God I craue.

This liuing haste thou, what needest thou complayne,
Nothing thou wantest which may thy life sustayne:
425 What feele man, pardie thy chekes be not thin,
No lacke of vitayle causeth a double chin.

Some beast is lustie and fat of his nature,
Though he sore laboure, and go in bad pasture.
And some beast agayne still leane and poore is seene,
ref.ed: 157
430 Though it fatly fare within a medowe greene.
Though thou would (Codrus) stil argue til to_morow,
I licke no dishes which sauced be with sorowe.
Better one small dish with ioy and heart-liking
Then diuers daynties with murmure and grutching.
435 And men vnlearned can neuer be content,
When scolers common, and clerkes be present.
As soone as clerkes begin to talke and chat,
Some other glowmes, and hath enuy thereat.
It is a torment a clerke to sit at borde,
440 And of his learning not for to talke one worde.
Better were to be with clerkes with a crust,
Then at such tables to fare at will and lust.
Let me haue the borde of olde Pithagoras,
Which of temperaunce a very father was.
445 Of Philosophers the moderate riches,
In youth or age I loued neuer excesse.
Some boast and promise, and put men in confort
Of large giftes, moste men be of this sort,
With mouth and promise for to be liberall,
450 When nede requireth, then geue they nought at all.
All-onely in thee is fixed all my trust,
If thou fayle promise then rowle I in the dust,
My hope is faded, then shall my songe be dom
Like a Nightingale at the solstitium.
455 If thou fayle promise, my comfort cleane is lost,
Then may I hange my pipe vpon the poste:
Shet the shopwindowes for lacke of marchaundice,
Or els for because that easy is the price.
ref.ed: 158

Minalcas, if thou the court of Rome haste seene,
460 With forked cappes or els if thou haste beene,
Or noble Prelates by riches excellent,
Thou well perceyuest they be magnificent.
With them be clerkes and pleasaunt Oratours,
And many Poetes promoted to honours,
465 There is aboundaunce of all that men desire,
There men hath honour before they it require:
In such fayre fieldes without labour or payne
Both wealth and riches thou lightly mayst obtayne.

Thou art abused, and thinkest wrong doubtlesse
470 To thinke that I am desirous of riches.
To feede on rawe fleshe it is a wolues gise,
Wherfore he weneth all beastes do likewise.
Because the blinde man halteth and is lame,
In minde he thinketh that all men do the same.
475 So for that thy-selfe desirest good in store,
All men thou iudgest infected with like sore.
Codrus, I couet not to haue aboundaunce,
Small thing me pleaseth, I aske but suffisaunce.
Graunt me a liuing sufficient and small,
480 And voyde of troubles, I aske no more at all.
But with that litle I holde my-selfe content,
If sauce of sorowe my mindes not torment. mindes: pl. occurs elsewhere; T, Pyn: mynde
ref.ed: 159
Of the court of Rome forsooth I haue heard tell,
With forked cappes it folly is to mell.
485 Micene and Morton be dead and gone certayne,
They, nor their like shall neuer returne agayne.
O Codrus Codrus, Augustus and Edwarde
Be gone for euer, our fortune is more harde.
The scarlet robes in songe haue small delite,
490 What should I trauayle, in Rome is no profite.
It geueth mockes and scornes manyfolde,
Still catching coyne, and gaping after golde,
Fraude and disceyte doth all the world fill,
And money reygneth and doth all-thing at will.
495 And for that people would more intende to gile,
Vertue and truth be driuen into exile.
We are commaunded to trust for time to come
Till care and sorowe hath wasted our wisedome.
Hope of rewarde hath Poetes them to feede,
500 Nowe in the worlde fayre wordes be their mede.

Then write of battayles, or actes of men bolde,
Or mightie princes, they may thee well vpholde,
These worthy rulers of fame and name royall
Of very reason ought to be liberall.
505 Some shalt thou finde betwene this place and Kent,
Which for thy labour shall thee right well content.
ref.ed: 160

Yea, some shall I finde which be so prodigall,
That in vayne thinges spende and cleane wasteth all:
But howe should that man my pouertie sustayne,
510 Which nought reserueth his honoure to mayntayne.
For auncient bloud nor auncient honoure
In these our dayes be nought without treasure.
The coyne auaunceth, neede doth the name deiect,
And where is treasure olde honour hath effect.
515 But suche as be riche and in promotion
Shall haue my writing but in derision.
For in this season great men of excellence
Haue to poemes no greater reuerence,
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Then to a brothell or els a brothelhouse,
520 Mad ignoraunce is so contagious.

It is not seming a Poet thus to iest
In wrathfull speeche, nor wordes dishonest.

It is no iesting, be thou neuer so wroth,
In open language to say nothing but troth:
525 If peraduenture thou would haue troth kept still,
Prouoke thou not me to anger at thy will.
When wrath is moued, then reason hath no might,
The tonge forgetteth discretion and right.

To moue thy minde I truely were full lothe,
530 To geue good councell is farre from being wroth.
ref.ed: 161

As touching councell, my minde is plentifull,
But neede and troubles make all my reason dull,
If I had councell and golde in like plentie,
I tell thee Codrus, I had no neede of thee.
535 Howe should a Poet, poore, bare and indigent,
Indite the actes of princes excellent,
While scant is he worth a knife his pipe to mende,
To rounde the holes, to clense or picke the ende.
Beholde, my whittle almoste hath lost the blade,
540 So long-time past is sith the same was made:
The haft is bruised, the blade not worth a strawe,
Rusty and toothed, not much vnlike a sawe.
But touching this hurt, it is but light and small,
But care and trouble is grieuous payne withall.
545 Good counsell helpeth, making the wittes stable,
Ill councell maketh the mindes variable,
And breaketh the brayne, diminishing the strength,
And all the reason confoundeth at the length.
Great men are shamed to geue thing poore or small,
550 And great they denye, thus geue they nought at all.
Beside this (Codrus) princes and men royall
In our inditinges haue pleasure faint and small.
ref.ed: 162
So much power haue they with men of might,
As simple doues when Egles take their flight:
555 Or as great windes careth for leaues drye.
They liue in pleasure and wealth continually,
In lust their liking is, and in ydlenes,
Fewe haue their mindes cleane from all viciousnes:
Pleasure is thing whereto they moste intende,
560 That they most cherishe, they would haue men concend
If Poetes should their maners magnify,
They were supporters of blame and lechery:
Then should their writing be nothing commendable,
Conteyning iestes and deedes detestable
565 Of stinking Uenus or loue inordinate,
Of ribaude wordes which fall not for a state,
Of right oppressed, and beastly gluttony,
Of vice aduaunced, of slouth and iniury,
And other deedes infame and worthy blame,
570 Which were ouerlonge here to recount or name.
These to commende (Codrus) do not agree
To any Poete which loueth chastitie.

What yes Minalcas, some haue bene stronge and bolde,
Which haue in battayle done actes manyfolde,
575 With mighty courage hauing them in fight,
And boldly biding for to maynteyne the right.
To thee could I nowe rehearse well nere a score
Of lust nor riches setting no force ne store.
Despising oft golde, sweete fare and beddes soft,
ref.ed: 163
580 Which in colde harnes lye on the grounde full oft,
Closed in yron, which when their woundes blede,
Want bread and drinke them to restore and feede.
While some haue pleasure in softe golde orient,
With colde harde yron their minde is well content.
585 Such were the sonnes of noble lorde Hawarde,
Whose famous actes may shame a faint cowarde.
What could they more but their swete liues spende,
Their princes quarell and right for to defende:
Alas that battayle should be of that rigour,
590 When fame and honour riseth and is in floure,
With sodayne furour then all to quenche agayne,
But boldest heartes be nerest death certayne.

For certayne (Codrus) I can not that denye,
But some in battayle behaue them manfully,
595 Such as in battayle do actes marciall,
Laude worthy Poetes and stile heroicall: and: in? T, Pyn: and
The pleasaunt Muses which soundeth grauitie
Had helpe and fauour while these were in degree.
But sith stronge knightes hath left their exercise,
600 And manly vertue corrupted is with vice,
The famous Poetes which ornately indite
Haue founde no matter whereof to singe or write.
The wit thus dyeth of poetes auncient,
So doth their writing and ditie eloquent.
605 For lacke of custome, thought, care and penury,
These be confounders of pleasaunt poecy.
ref.ed: 164
But if some prince, some king or conquerour
Hath won in armes or battayle great honour:
Full litle they force for to delate their fame,
610 That other realmes may laude or prayse their name.
Of time for to come they force nothing at all,
By fame and honour to liue as immortall:
It them suffiseth, they count ynough truely
That their owne realmes their names magnify.
615 And that for their life they may haue laude and fame,
After their death then seeke they for no name.
And some be vntaught and learned no science,
Or els they disdayne hye stile of eloquence:
Then standeth the Poet and his poeme arere,
620 When princes disdayne them for to reade or here.
Or els some other is drowned all in golde,
By couetise kept in cares manyfolde.
By flagrant ardour inflamed in suche case,
As in time past the olde king Midas was.
625 Then of poemes full small pleasure hath he,
Couetise and clergy full lewdly do agree.
Beside this (Codrus) with princes commonly
Be vntaught courtiers fulfilled with enuy.
Iugglers and Pipers, bourders and flatterers,
630 Baudes and Ianglers, and cursed aduoutrers:
And mo such other of liuing vicious,
To whom is vertue aduerse and odious.
ref.ed: 165
These do good Poetes forth of all courtes chase,
By thousande maners of threatning and manace,
635 Sometime by fraudes, sometime by ill reporte,
And them assisteth all other of their sort:
Like as when curres light on a carion,
Or stinking rauens fed with corruption:
These two all other away do beate and chace,
640 Because they alone would occupy the place.
For vnto curres is carion moste meete,
And also rauens fele stinking thinges sweete.
Another thing yet is greatly more damnable,
Of rascolde poetes yet is a shamfull rable,
645 Which voyde of wisedome presumeth to indite,
Though they haue scantly the cunning of a snite:
And to what vices that princes moste intende,
Those dare these fooles solemnize and commende.
Then is he decked as Poete-laureate,
650 When stinking Thais made him her graduate.
sig: [C6]
When Muses rested, she did her season note,
And she with Bacchus her camous did promote:
Such rascolde drames promoted by Thais,
Bacchus, Licoris, or yet by Testalis,
655 Or by suche other newe-forged Muses nine
Thinke in their mindes for to haue wit diuine.
They laude their verses, they boast, they vaunt and iet,
Though all their cunning be scantly worth a pet.
If they haue smelled the artes triniall,
ref.ed: 166
660 They count them Poetes hye and heroicall.
Such is their foly, so foolishly they dote,
Thinking that none can their playne errour note:
Yet be they foolishe, auoyde of honestie,
Nothing seasoned with spice of grauitie,
665 Auoyde of pleasure, auoyde of eloquence,
With many wordes, and fruitlesse of sentence.
Unapt to learne, disdayning to be taught,
Their priuate pleasure in snare hath them so caught:
And worst yet of all, they count them excellent,
670 Though they be fruitlesse, rashe and improuident.
To such Ambages who doth their minde incline,
They count all other as priuate of doctrine,
And that the faultes which be in them alone,
Also be common in other men eche one.
675 Thus bide good Poetes oft-time rebuke and blame,
Because of other which haue despised name.
And thus for the bad the good be cleane abiect,
Their art and poeme counted of none effect.
Who wanteth reason good to discerne from ill
680 Doth worthy writers interprete at his will:
So both the laudes of good and not laudable
For lacke of knowledge become vituperable.

In fayth Minalcas, I well allowe thy wit,
Yet would I gladly heare nowe some mery fit
685 Of mayde Marion, or els of Robin_hood,
Or Bentleyes ale which chaseth well the bloud:
Of perte of Norwiche, or sauce of Wilberton,
Or buckishe Ioly well stuffed as a ton:
Talke of the bottell, let go the booke for nowe,
690 Combrous is cunning I make to God a_vowe.
ref.ed: 167
Speake of some matter which may refresh my brayne,
Trust me Minalcas, I shall rewarde thy payne.
Els talke of stoutenes, where is more brayne then wit,
Place moste abused that we haue spoke of yet.

695 Of all these thinges language to multiply,
Except I lyed, should be but vilany.
It is not seeming a Poete one to blame,
All if his hauour hath won diffamed name.
And though such beastes pursue me with enuy,
700 Malgre for malice, that payment I defye.
My master teacheth, so doth reason and skill,
That man should restore, and render good for ill.

Then talke of somewhat, lo it is longe to night,
Yet hath the sonne more then an houre of light,

705 If I ought common sounding to grauitie,
I feare to obtayne but small rewarde of thee:
But if I common of vice or wantonnes,
Then of our Lorde shall my rewarde be lesse,
Wherfore my ballade shall haue conclusion
710 On fruitfull clauses of noble Salomon.

Sing on Minalcas, he may do litle thing,
Which to a ballade disdayneth the hearing:
But if thy ditie accorde not to my minde,
Then my rewarde and promise is behinde,
715 By mans maners it lightly doth appere,
What men desire, that loue they for to here.

Though in thy promise I finde no certentie,
Yet of my cunning shalt thou haue part of me,
I call no muses to geue to me doctrine,
720 But ayde and confort of strength and might diuine,
To clere my reason with wisedome and prudence
To sing one ballade extract of sapience.
ref.ed: 168
AS medoes paynted with floures redolent
The sight reioyce of suche as them beholde:
725 So man indued with vertue excellent
Fragrantly shineth with beames manyfolde.
Uertue with wisedome exceedeth store of gold,
If riches abound, set not on them thy trust.
When strength is sturdy, then man is pert and bolde,
730 But wit and wisedom soone lay him in the dust.
That man is beastly which sueth carnall lust,
Spende not on women thy riches or substaunce,
For lacke of vsing as stele or yron rust,
So rusteth reason by wilfull ignoraunce.
735 In fraudfull beautie set but small pleasaunce,
A pleasaunt apple is oft corrupt within,
Grounde thee in youth on goodly gouernaunce,
It is good token when man doth well begin.
Ioy not in malice, that is a mortall sinne,
740 Man is perceyued by language and doctrine,
Better is to lose then wrongfully to winne,
He loueth wisedome which loueth discipline:
Rashe enterprises oft bringeth to ruine,
A man may contende, God geueth victory,
745 Set neuer thy minde on thing which is not thine,
Trust not in honour, all wealth is transitory,
Combine thou thy tonge with reason and memory,
Speake not to hasty without aduisement,
So liue in this life that thou mayst trust on glory,
750 Which is not caduke, but lasting permanent.
There is no secrete with people vinolent,
By beastly surfeit the life is breuiate,
Though some haue pleasure in sumptuous garment,
Yet goodly maners him maketh more ornate.
ref.ed: 169

755 Ho there Minalcas, of this haue we ynough,
What should a Ploughman go farther then his plough,
What should a shepherde in wisedome wade so farre,
Talke he of tankarde, or of his boxe of tarre.
Tell somewhat els, wherein is more conforte,
760 So shall the season and time seeme light and short.

For thou of Hawarde nowe lately did recite,
I haue a ditie which Cornix did indite:
His death complayning, but it is lamentable
To heare a Captayne so good and honorable,
765 So soone withdrawen by deathes crueltie,
Before his vertue was at moste hye degree.
If death for a season had shewed him fauour,
To all his nation he should haue bene honour,
Alas, bolde heartes be nerest death in warre,
770 When out of daunger cowardes stande a_farre.

All if that ditie be neuer so lamentable,
Refrayne my teares I shall as I am able,
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Begin Minalcas, tell of the bolde hawarde,
If fortune fauour hope after some rewarde.

775 I pray thee Codrus (my whey is weake and thin)
Lende me thy bottell to drinke or I begin.

If ought be tasted, the remnant shall pall,
I may not aforde nowe for to spende out all.
We sit in shadowe, the Sunne is not feruent,
780 Call for it after, then shall I be content.

Still thou desirest thy pleasure of my art,
But of thy bottell nought wilt thou yet depart,
Thought thou be nigard, and nought wilt geue of thine,
Yet this one time thou shalt haue part of mine.
785 Nowe harken Codrus, I tell mine elegy,
ref.ed: 170
But small is the pleasure of dolefull armony.

The description of the Towre of vertue and honour, into the which the noble Hawarde contended to enter by worthy actes of chiualry.

HIgh on a mountayne of highnes maruelous,
With pendant cliffes of stones harde as flent,
Is made a castell or toure moste curious,
790 Dreadfull vnto sight, but inwarde excellent.
Such as would enter finde paynes and torment,
So harde is the way vnto the same mountayne,
Streyght, hye and thorny, turning and different,
That many labour for to ascende in vayne.
795 Who doth perseuer, and to this towre attayne,
Shall haue great pleasure to see the building olde,
Ioyned and graued, surmounting mans brayne,
And all the walles within of fynest golde,
With olde historyes, and pictures manyfolde,
800 Glistering as bright as Phebus orient,
With marble pillers the building to vpholde,
About be turrets of shape moste excellent.
This towre is gotten by labour diligent,
In it remayne such as haue won honoure
805 By holy liuing, by strength or tournament,
And moste by wisedome attayne vnto this towre:
Briefely, all people of godly behauour,
By rightwise battayle, Iustice and equitie,
Or that in mercy hath had a chiefe pleasour:
810 In it haue rowmes eche after his degree,
This goodly Castell (thus shining in beautie)
Is named Castell of vertue and honour,
In it eyght Henry is in his maiestie
ref.ed: 171
Moste hye enhaunsed as ought a conquerour:
815 In it remayneth the worthy gouernour,
A stocke and fountayne of noble progeny,
Moste noble Hawarde the duke and protectour,
Named of Northfolke the floure of chiualry.
Here is the Talbot manfull and hardy,
820 With other princes and men of dignitie,
Which to win honour do all their might apply,
Supporting Iustice, concorde and equitie:
The manly Corson within this towre I see,
These haue we seene eche one in his estate,
825 With many other of hye and meane degree,
For marciall actes with crownes laureate.
Of this stronge castell is porter at the gate
Strong sturdy labour, much like a champion,
But goodly vertue a lady moste ornate
830 Within gouerneth with great prouision:
But of this castell in the moste hyest trone
Is honour shining in rowme imperiall,
Which vnrewarded of them leaueth not one
That come by labour and vertue principall.
835 Fearefull is labour without fauour at all,
Dreadfull of visage, a monster intreatable,
Like Cerberus lying at gates infernall,
To some men his looke is halfe intollerable,
His shoulders large, for burthen strong and able,
840 His body bristled, his necke mightie and stiffe,
By sturdy senewes his ioyntes stronge and stable,
Like marble-stones his handes be as stiffe.
Here must man vanquishe the dragon of Cadmus,
Against the Chimer here stoutly must he fight,
845 Here must he vanquish the fearefull Pegasus,
For the golden flece here must he shewe his might:
ref.ed: 172
If labour gaynsay, he can nothing be right,
This monster labour oft chaungeth his figure,
Sometime an oxe, a bore, or lion wight
850 Playnely he seeme[t]h, thus chaungeth his nature. seemeth] seemeeh C
Like as Protheus oft chaunged his stature,
Mutable of figure oft-times in one houre,
When Aristeus in bondes had him sure:
To diuers figures likewise chaungeth labour,
855 Under his browes he dreadfully doth loure,
With glistering eyen, and side dependaunt beard,
For thirst and hunger alway his chere is soure,
His horned forehead doth make faynt heartes feard.
Alway he drinketh, and yet alway is drye,
860 The sweat distilling with droppes aboundaunt,
His breast and forehead doth humours multiply
By sweating showres, yet is this payne pleasaunt:
Of day and night his resting-time is scant,
No day ouerpasseth exempt of busynes,
865 His sight infourmeth the rude and ignorant,
Who dare perseuer, he geueth them riches.
None he auaunceth but after stedfastnes,
Of litle burthen his bely is, and small,
His mighty thyes his vigour doth expres,
870 His shankes sturdy, and large feete withall:
By wrath he rageth, and still doth chide and brall,
Such as would enter repelling with his crye,
As well estates as homely men rurall
At the first entry he threatneth yrefully.
875 I trowe olde fathers (whom men nowe magnify),
Called this monster Minerua stoute and soure,
For strength and senewes of man moste commonly
Are tame and febled by cures and laboure.
ref.ed: 173
Great Hercules the mighty conquerour
880 Was by this monster ouercome and superate, ouercome] ouerccome C
All if he before vnto his great honour
The sonne of Uenus had strongly subiugate.
Who would with honour be purely laureate,
Must with this monster longe-time before contende,
885 But lightly is man ouercome and fatigate,
To lady vertue if he not well intende:
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When strength is febled she helpeth at the ende,
Opening the gates and passage to honour,
By whose assistaunce soone may a man ascende
890 The hye degrees of the triumphant Tour.
Mankinde inflamed by goodly behauour
Of lady vertue come to this towre with payne,
But for the entree pretendeth them rigour
Many one abasheth, rebuking backe agayne:
895 To purchase honour they would be glad and fayne,
But fearefull labour, the porter is so fell,
To them proclaming, their enterprise is vayne,
Except they before with him contende and mell.
Here moste of all muste mans might excell
900 With stedfast courage and sure perseueraunce,
Els shall this monster him backe agayne repell,
But man preuayleth by long continuaunce.
No costly treasour nor Iewell of pleasaunce
Without price or payne can man in earth come by:
905 So without labour doth vertue none aduaunce
To parfite honour and noble seignory.
Faynt cowarde mindes soone at the first escry
Of sturdie labour, fall to the grounde as lame,
Els runne they backwarde fast fleing cowardly,
910 As hartles wretches caring nothing for shame:
But noble heartes to win immortall name,
ref.ed: 174
Fight at these gates till they ouercome labour,
Then lady vertue with good report and fame
Suche knightes gideth to laude and hye honour.
915 But cruell fortune to some is harde and soure,
That after trauell and many deadly wounde,
When lady vertue should graunt to them this toure
Then frowarde fortune them beateth to the ground:
Of this examples ouer-many do abounde,
920 But chiefly this one, the noble lorde Hawarde,
When he chiefe honour was worthy to haue founde,
False death and fortune bereft him his rewarde.
Longe he contended in battayle strong and harde,
With payne and labour, with might repelling wrong,
925 No backe he turned as doth some faint cowarde,
But with this monster boldly contended long,
When he had broken the locke and doores stronge,
Ouercome the porter, and should ascende the toure,
To liue in honour hye conquerours amonge,
930 Then cruell fortune and death did him deuoure.
Though he were borne to glory and honour,
Of auncient stocke and noble progenie,
Yet thought his courage to be of more valour,
By his owne actes and noble chiualry.
935 Like as becommeth a knight to fortifye
His princes quarell with right and equitie,
So did this hawarde with courage valiauntly,
Till death abated his bolde audacitie.
O happy Samson more fortunate then he
940 Onely in strength, but not in hye courage,
O cruell fortune why durst thy crueltie
This floure of knighthood to slea in lusty age,
Thou hast debated the floure of his linage,
If thou had mercy bewayle his death thou might,
ref.ed: 175
945 For cruell lions and mo beastes sauage
Long-time not ceased for to bewayle this knight,
[O] death thou haste done agaynst both lawe and right, O] Not in C; O Pyn
To spare a cowarde without daunger or wounde,
And thus soone to quench of chiualry the light,
950 O death enuious moste enemie to our grounde,
What moste auayleth thou soonest doest confounde:
Why did not vertue assist hir champion?
Thou might haue ayded, for soothly thou was bounde,
For during his life he loued thee alone,
955 O God almightie in thy eternall trone,
To whom all vertue is deare and acceptable,
If reason suffred to thee our crye and mone,
This dede might impute and fortune lamentable,
Thou might haue left vs this knight moste honorable,
960 Our wealth and honour to haue kept in degree:
Alas why hath death so false and disceyuable,
Mankinde to torment this will and libertie?
It quencheth vertue, sparing iniquitie,
The best it striketh, of bad hauing disdayne,
965 No helpe nor comfort hath our aduersitie,
Death dayly striketh though dayly we complayne:
To treate a tiran it is but thing in vayne,
Mekenes prouoketh his wrath and tiranny,
So at our prayer death hath the more disdayne,
970 We do by mekenes his furour multiply.
If some fell tiran replete with villany
Should thus haue ending the dede were commendable,
But a stoute captayne disposed to mercy
So soone thus faded, the case is lamentable,
975 Was he not humble, iocunde and companable,
No man despising, and first in all labour,
ref.ed: 176
Right-wise with mercy debonair and tretable,
Mate and companion with euery souldier.
Uice he subdued by goodly behauour,
980 Like as a rider doth a wilde stede subdue,
His body subiect, his soule was gouernour,
From vice withdrawen to goodnes and vertue,
When pride rebelled mekenes did it eschue,
Free minde and almes subdued auarice:
985 Alway he noted this saying iuste and true,
That noble mindes despised couetise.
His death declareth that slouth he did despise,
By hardie courage as fyrst in ieopardie,
Alway he vsed some noble exercise,
990 Suche as belongeth to worthy chiualrie,
In him was there founde no sparkle of enuy,
Alway he lauded and praysed worthynes,
Suche as were doughtie rewarding largely,
Wrath saue in season he wisely coulde repres.
995 Of wine or Bacchus despised he excesse,
For mindes kindled to actes marciall,
Seking for honour and name of doughtinesse,
Despiseth surfet and liuing bestiall,
In him no power hath luste venereall,
1000 For busy labour and pleasaunt abstinence
All corporall lust soone causeth for to fall,
No lust subdueth where reigneth diligence.
He was a piller of sober countenaunce,
His onely treasour and iewell was good name,
1005 But O cursed death thy wrathfull violence,
By stroke vnwarned halfe blinded of his fame,
Whom may I accuse, whom may I put in blame,
God for death, or fortune, or impotent nature,
God doth his pleasour, and death will haue the same,
ref.ed: 177
1010 Nature was mightie longe able to endure,
In fortune is the fault nowe am I sure,
I would if I durst his tiranny accuse:
O cursed fortune if thou be creature,
Who gaue thee power thus people to abuse.
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1015 Thy mutable might me causeth oft to muse,
When man is plunged in dolour and distresse,
Thy face thou chaungest, which did earst refuse,
By sodayne chaunces him lifting to richesse.
And suche as longe-time haue liued in noblenes
1020 Anone thou plungest in payne and pouertie,
Wealth, honour, strength, right, iustice and goodnes,
Misery, dolour, lowe rowme, iniquitie,
These thou rewardest like as it pleaseth thee,
To mans merite without respect at all,
1025 One this day being in great aucthoritie,
Agayne to_morowe thou causest for to fall.
When man is worthy a rowme imperiall,
On him thou glowmest with frowarde countenaunce,
Weake is thy promis reuoluing as a ball,
1030 Thou hast no fauour to godly gouernaunce,
No man by merite thou vsest to aduaunce,
O blinded fortune ofte-time infortunate,
When man thee trusteth then falleth some mischaunce,
Unwarely chaunging his fortune and estate.
1035 Tell me frayle fortune, why did thou breuiate
The liuing season of suche a captayne,
That when his actes ought to be laureate
Thy fauour turned him suffring to be slayne?
I blame thee fortune and thee excuse agayne,
1040 For though thy fauour to him was rigorous,
Suche is thy custome for to be vncertayne,
And namely when man is hye and glorious.
ref.ed: 178
But moste worthy duke hye and victorious,
Respire to comfort, see the vncertentie
1045 Of other princes, whose fortune prosperous
Oftetime haue ended in harde aduersitie:
Read of Pompeius whose pereles dignitie
Agaynst great Cesar did wealth of Rome defende,
Whom after fortune brought in captiuitie,
1050 And he in Egipt was headed at the ende.
In likewise Cesar which did with him contende,
When all the worlde to him was subiugate,
From his hye honour did sodenly descende,
Murdred in Rome by chaunce infortunate.
1055 Cato and Seneke, with Tully laureate,
These and mo like for all their sapience
Hath proued fortune, sore blinding their estate,
By wrongfull slaunders and deadly violence.
To poore and riche it hath no difference,
1060 Olde Policrates supposing perill past,
With death dishonest ended his excellence,
Great Alexander by fortune was downe cast,
One draught of poyson him filled at the last,
Whom all the worlde earst could not saciate:
1065 What is all honour and power but a blast,
When fortune threatneth the life to breuiate.
Beholde on Pirrus the king infortunate
With a small stone dead prostrate vpon the grounde,
See Ualerian brought downe from his estate,
1070 From his empire in Percy thrall and bounde.
Of olde Priamus it is in writing founde,
Howe he by Pyrrus was in his palace slayne,
Paris and Hector receyued mortall wounde,
To trust in fortune it is a thing in vayne.
1075 The mightie Cyrus a king of Realmes twayne
ref.ed: 179
Was slayne and his hoste of Thomiris the quene.
Thus is no matter of fortune to complayne,
All that newe falleth of olde time hath bene sene,
This shall be, this is, and this hath euer bene,
1080 That boldest heartes be nearest ieopardie,
To dye in battayle is honour as men wene
To suche as haue ioy in haunting chiualry.
Suche famous ending the name doth magnifie,
Note worthy duke, no cause is to complayne,
1085 His life not ended foule nor dishonestly,
In bed nor tauerne his lustes to maynteyne,
But like as besemed a noble captayne,
In sturdie harnes he died for the right,
From deathes daunger no man may flee certayne,
1090 But suche death is metest vnto so noble a knight.
But death it to call me-thinke it vnright,
Sith his worthy name shall laste perpetuall,
To all his nation example and clere light,
But to his progeny moste specially of all,
1095 His soule is in pleasour of glory eternall,
So duke most doughty ioy may that noble tree,
Whose braunches honour shall neuer fade ne fall,
While beast is on earth or fishes in the sea.
Lo Codrus I here haue tolde thee by and by
1100 Of shepheard Cornix the wofull elegy,
Wherin he mourned the greeuous payne and harde,
And laste departing of the noble lorde Hawarde,
More he indited of this good Admirall,
But truely Codrus I can not tell thee all.

1105 Minalcas I sweare by holy Peters cope,
ref.ed: 180
If all-thing fortune as I haue trust and hope,
If happy winde blowe I shall or it be longe
Comfort thy sorowe and well rewarde thy songe,
What tary man a while till better fortune come,
1110 If my part be any then shall thy part be some.

If thou in purpose so to rewarde my hire,
God graunt thee Codrus thy wishing and desire.

Forsooth Minalcas I wishe thee so in-dede,
And that shalt thou knowe if fortune with me spede,
1115 Farewell Minalcas, for this time, dieu te garde,
Neare is winter the worlde is to harde.

Go wretched nigarde, God sende thee care and payne,
Our Lorde let thee neuer come hither more agayne,
And as did Midas, God turne it all to golde
1120 That euer thou touchest or shalt in handes holde,
For so muche on golde is fixed thy liking,
That thou despisest both vertue and cunning.

Thus endeth the fourth Egloge.
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The fyfth Egloge of Alexander_Barclay, entituled Amintas and Faustus , of the disputation of Citizens and men of the Countrey.

¶The Argument.
IN colde Ianuary when fire is comfortable,
And that the fieldes be nere intollerable,
When shepe and pastours leaueth fielde and folde,
And drawe to cotes for to eschue the colde,
5 What time the verdure of ground and euery tree,
By frost and stormes is priuate of beautee,
And euery small birde thinketh the winter longe,
Which well appeareth by ceasing of their songe.
At this same season two herdes freshe of age
10 At time appoynted met both in one cotage,
The first hight Faustus, the seconde Amintas,
Harde was to knowe which better husbande was,
For eche of them both set more by his pleasour
Then by aboundaunce of riches or treasour.
15 Amintas was formall and proper in his geare,
A man on his cloke should not espye a heare,
Nor of his clothing one wrinkle stande a_wry,
In London he learned to go so manerly,
High on his bonet stacke a fayre brouche of tinne, stacke: =stuck
20 His purses lining was simple, poore and thinne:
But a lordes stomake and a beggers pouche
Full ill accordeth, suche was this comely slouch,
In the towne and citie so longe ietted had he
That from thence he fled for det and pouertie,
25 No wafrer, tauerne, alehouse or tauerner,
To him was there hid while he was hosteler,
First was he hosteler, and then a wafrer,
Then a costermonger, and last a tauerner,
About all London there was no proper prim
30 But long-time had bene familier with him,
But when coyne fayled no fauour more had he,
ref.ed: 182
Wherfore he was glad out of the towne to flee.
But shepheard Faustus was yet more fortunate,
For alway was he content with his estate,
35 Yet nothing he had to comfort him in age,
Saue a milch-cowe and a poore cotage,
The towne he vsed, and great pleasour he had
To see the citie oft-time while he was lad.
For milke and butter he thither brought to sell,
40 But neuer thought he in citie for to dwell,
For well he noted the mad enormitie,
Enuy, fraude, malice and suche iniquitie
Which reigne in cities, therefore he led his life
Uplande in village without debate and strife.
45 When these two herdes were thus together met,
Hauing no charges nor labour them to let,
Their shepe were all sure and closed in a cote,
Them-selues lay in litter pleasauntly and hote.
For costly was fire in hardest of the yere,
50 When men haue moste nede then euery-thing is dere,
For passing of time and recreation,
They both delited in communication,
Namely they pleaded of the diuersitie
Of rurall husbandes and men of the citie.
55 Faustus accused and blamed citizens,
To them imputing great faultes, crime and sins:
Amintas blamed the rurall men agayne,
And eche of them both his quarell did maynteyne,
All wrath despised, all malice and ill-will
60 Cleane layde apart, eche did rehearse his skill,
But first Amintas thus to speake began,
As he which counted him-selfe the better man.


Amintas first speaketh.
THe winter snowes, all couered is the grounde,
The north-wind blowes sharpe and with ferefull sound,
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The longe ise sicles at the ewes hang, ise sicles: =icicles
The streame is frosen, the night is cold and long,
5 Where botes rowed nowe cartes haue passage,
From yoke the oxen be losed and bondage,
The ploweman resteth auoyde of businesse,
Saue when he tendeth his harnes for to dresse,
Mably his wife sitteth before the fyre
10 All blacke and smoky clothed in rude attire,
Sething some grewell, and sturring the pulment
Of pease or frument, a noble meat for lent,
The summer season men counted nowe laudable
Whose feruour before they thought intollerable,
15 The frosty winter and wether temperate
Which men then praysed they nowe disprayse and hate,
Colde they desired, but nowe it is present
They braule and grutche their mindes not content.
Thus mutable men them pleased can not holde,
20 At great heat grutching, and grutching when it is cold.

All pleasour present of men is counted small,
Desire obtayned some counteth nought at all,
What men hope after that semeth great and deare,
ref.ed: 184
A[s] light by distaunce appeareth great and cleare, As] At C

25 Eche time and season hath his delite and ioyes,
Loke in the stretes beholde the little boyes,
Howe in fruite season for ioy they sing and hop,
In lent is eche one full busy with his top,
And nowe in winter for all the greeuous colde
30 All rent and ragged a man may them beholde,
They haue great pleasour supposing well to dine,
When men be busied in killing of fat swine,
sig: [D2v]
They get the bladder and blowe it great and thin,
With many beanes or peason put within,
35 It ratleth, soundeth, and shineth clere and fayre,
While it is throwen and caste vp in the ayre,
Eche one contendeth and hath a great delite
With foote and with hande the bladder for to smite,
If it fall to grounde they lifte it vp agayne,
40 This-wise to labour they count it for no payne,
Renning and leaping they driue away the colde.
The sturdie plowmen lustie, strong and bolde
Ouercommeth the winter with driuing the foote-ball,
Forgetting labour and many a greuous fall.

45 Men labour sorer in fruiteles vanitie
Then in fayre workes of great vtilitie,
In suche trifles we labour for domage,
ref.ed: 185
Worke we despise which bringeth aduauntage.

Touching their labour it can not me displease,
50 While we be in rest and better here at ease
In the warme litter, small payne hath little hire,
Here may we walow while milke is on the fire,
If it be crudded of bread we nede no crome,
If thou bide Faustus thereof thou shalt haue some.

55 Winter declareth harde nede and pouertie,
Then men it feleth which haue necessitie,
Truely Amintas I tell thee mine intent,
We fonde yong people be muche improuident,
We stray in summer without thought, care or hede,
60 Of suche thinges as we in winter shall haue nede,
As soone as we heare a bagpipe or a drone,
Then leaue we labour there is our money gone,
But when the north-winde with stormes violent
Hath brought colde winter poore wretches to torment,
65 And voyde of leaues is euery bough and tree,
That one may clerely the empty nestes see,
Then is all our woll and lambes gone and solde,
We tremble naked and dye almost for colde,
Our shoulders all bare, our hose and showes rent,
70 By rechlesse youth thus all is gone and spent.
This commeth for want of good prouision,
Youth dayneth counsell, scorning discretion,
ref.ed: 186
When pouertie thus hath caught vs in hir snare
Then doth the winter our mad folly declare.
75 Nowe truely Amintas I tell to thee my mate,
That towne-dwellers liue greatly more fortunate,
And somewhat wiser be they also then we,
They gather treasour and riches in plentie,
They spoyle the lambes and foxes of their skin
80 To lap their wombes and fat sides therin,
In lust, in pleasour, and good in aboundaunce
Passe they their liues, we haue not suffisaunce.

The men of the earth be fooles eche one,
We poore shepheardes be not to blame alone,
85 More folly vexeth the men of the citie,
I graunt vs ouersene, they madder be then we,
Though I long season did in the citie dwell
I fauour it not, troth dare I boldly tell,
Though citizens be of liuing reprouable,
90 Yet fortune to them is muche more fauourable,
Fortune to them is like a mother dere,
As a stepmother she doth to vs appeare,
Them she exalteth to honour and richesse,
Us she oppresseth in care and wretchednesse.
95 What is vayne fortune but thing vituperable,
An vnhappy madnesse, vnworthy and vnstable.

No doubt Amintas let me be fortunate,
ref.ed: 187
And then shall I soone become a great estate,
My coyne shall encrease, then shortly shall I be
100 Called to office to gouerne a citie,
All men shall heare me and geue to me credence,
The commontie bare-head shall do me reuerence,
All other rulers, lowe men and commontie
Shall gladly desire to haue aduise of me.
105 If I be happy and fortune on me smile,
Thus shall I ascende and mounte within a while,
Aske thou of Cornix, declare to thee he can,
Howe coyne more then cunning exalteth euery man.

O Faustus Faustus, thou erres from the way,
110 This is not fortune, full little do she may,
Though I my-selfe rehearsed but lately,
That fortune hath might a man to magnifie,
I kept the opinion of witlesse commontie,
And grounded my-selfe on none aucthoritie.
115 It is not fortune which graunteth excellence,
True honour is wonne by vertue and sapience,
If men get honour by worldly pollicy
It is no honour but wretched misery,
God maketh mightie, God geueth true honour
120 To godly persons of godly behauour.
God first disposed and made diuersitie
Betwene rude plowmen and men of the citie,
And in what maner Cornix thine owne mate
As we went talking recounted to me late.
ref.ed: 188

125 What tolde thee Cornix, tell me I thee pray,
He had good reason suche thinges to conuay,
His wit was pregnaunt, no reason did he want,
But truth to declare his money was but scant.
But what then? some man hath plentie of cunning
130 Which hath of riches small plentie or nothing.

In hearing my tale if thou haue thy delite,
Then take some labour, for nowe is good respite,
Faustus arise thou out of this litter hote,
Go see and visite our wethers in the cote,
135 Arise, go and come, thou art both yong and able,
After great colde heate is more comfortable,
Go man for shame, he is a slouthfull dawe
Which leaueth profite for pleasour of hote strawe.

Thinke not Amintas that Faustus hath disdayne,
140 To do thy pleasour I shall refuse no payne,
Loke here Amintas, Lorde benedicite,
The colde snowe reacheth muche higher then my knee,
Scant may the houses suche burthen well susteyne,
Lesse hurte is tempest and sodayne storme of rayne,
145 On toppe of the chimney there is a heape of snowe
So hye extending our steple is more lowe,
The snowe is so white and the sunne so bright,
That playnly Amintas amased is my sight.
ref.ed: 189

Geue to the beastes good rowen in plentie,
150 And stoppe all the holes where thou canst faultes see,
sig: D3
Stop them with stubble, eft daube them with some clay
And when thou hast done then come agayne thy way,
Nought is more noysome to flocke, cotage nor folde,
Then soden tempest and vnprouided colde.
155 What nowe already frende Faustus here agayne,
By short conclusion bad worke apeareth playne,
Thy comming agayne me-thinke is all to soone
Ought to have ended or profite to haue done.

This comberous wether made me more diligent,
160 I ran all the way both as I came and went,
And there I sped me and toke the greater payne,
Because I lightly would be with thee agayne,
After great colde it is full swete God wot
To tumble in the strawe or in the litter hot.
165 Nowe be we Faustus in hay vp to the chin,
Fulfill thy promise, I pray thee nowe begin,
Tell the beginning of the diuersitie
Betwene rurall men and men of the citie,
I knowe the reason and talking of Cornix,
170 But since I him sawe be passed yeres sixe,
His iocunde iestes made me ofte-time full glad,
Our first acquayntaunce was when I was a lad:
ref.ed: 190
Nowe speake my Amintas, and I shall holde me still
Till thou haue ended and spoken all thy will.

175 This great difference and first diuersitie
Betwene rurall men and them of the citie,
Began in this-wise as Cornix to me tolde,
Whiche well coulde common of many matters olde.
First when the worlde was founded and create,
180 And Adam and Eue were set in their estate,
Our Lorde conioyned them both as man and wife,
To liue in concorde the season of their life,
And them commaunded mankinde to multiply,
By generation to get them progeny,
185 They both obeyed this swete commaundement
With faythfull heartes and labour diligent,
But would to Iesu they had bene wise and ware
From that fatall fruit which kindled all their care.
But to my purpose: first Eue had children two,
190 A sonne and a daughter, our Lorde disposed so,
And so yere by yere two twins she brought,
When man assisteth God worketh not for nought,
By suche maner these two did them apply,
ref.ed: 191
The worlde to fulfill, encrease and multiply.
195 At the laste our Lord at ende of fiftene yere
To Eue our mother did on a time appeare,
And in what maner nowe heare me Faustus:
Adam on the fielde foorth with his wethers was,
His flocke then he fed without all dread and feare,
200 Then were no wowers him nor his wife to deare,
He was not troubled that time with ielousie,
Then was no-body to do that villany,
No horned kiddes were liuing at that time,
Long after this began this cursed crime,
205 Then was no cucko betwene the east and west
To lay wrong egges within a straunge nest,
Then none suspected the liuing of his wife,
Wedlocke was quiet and pleasaunt without strife.
But after when people began to multiply
210 Then fyrst was kindled the flame of ielousy,
For that man committeth sore dredeth he againe,
Fraude feareth falshode, suspecting oft in vayne,
A thefe suspecteth all men of felony,
Breakers of wedlocke be full of ielousy,
215 And therfore all suche as with the sworde do strike
Feare to be serued with the scaberd like.
Thus while that Adam was pitching of his folde
Eue was at home and sat on the thresholde,
With all hir babes and children hir about,
220 Eyther on hir lappe within or else without,
Nowe had she pleasour them colling and bassing,
And eft she was busy them lousing and kembing,
ref.ed: 192
And busy with butter for to annoynt their necke,
Sometime she mused them pleasauntly to decke.
225 In the meane-time while she was occupied,
Our Lorde drawing nere she sodenly espied,
Anone she blushed, reuoluing in hir minde,
That if our Lorde there should all those babes finde
So soone engendred, suppose he nedes must
230 That it was token of to great carnall lust,
And all ashamed as fast as euer she might
She hasted and hid some of them out of sight,
Some vnder hay, some vnder strawe and chaffe,
Some in the chimney, some in a tubbe of draffe,
235 But suche as were fayre and of their stature right
As wise and subtill reserued she in sight.
Anone came our Lorde vnto the woman nere,
And hir saluted with swete and smiling chere,
And saide: O woman let me thy children see,
240 I come to promote eche after his degree.
First was the woman amased nere for drede,
At laste she commaunded the eldest to procede,
And gaue them comfort to haue audacitie,
Though they were bolder and doubted lesse then she,
245 God on them smiled, and them comforted so
As we with whelpes and birdes vse to do,
And then at the laste to the moste olde of all
He saide: haue thou scepter of rowme imperiall,
ref.ed: 193
Thou art the eldest thou shalt haue most honour,
250 Iustice requireth that thou be Emperour.
Then to the seconde he saide: it is seming
That thou be haunced to the honour of a king.
And vnto the thirde he gaue suche dignitie,
To gide an army a noble duke to be,
255 And saide: haue thou here harde yron and armour,
Be thou in battayle a head and gouernour,
And so foorth to other as they were in degree,
Eche he promoted to worthy dignitie.
Some made he Earles, some lordes, some barons,
260 Some squires, some knightes, some hardy champions,
And then brought he foorth the cepter and the crowne,
The sworde, the pollax, the helme and haberiowne,
The streamer, standard, the ghetton and the mace,
The speare and the shielde, nowe Eue had great solace,
265 He gaue them armour, and taught them pollicy
All-thing to gouerne concerning chiualry.
Then made he iudges, maiors and gouernours,
Marchauntes, shiriffes and other protectours,
Aldermen, burgesses and other in degree,
270 After the custome of court and of citie.
Thus all the children then being in presence,
He set in honour and rowme of excellence,
Oft-time reuoluing and turning in his minde
The caduke honours belonging to mankinde.
275 In the meane season Eue very ioyfull was
That all these matters were brought so well to passe,
Then flewe she in haste for to haue pleasour more,
ref.ed: 194
And them presented whom she had hid before,
And vnrequired presenting them saide she,
280 O Lorde these also my very children be,
These be the fruite also of my wome,
Hid for shamefastnesse within my house at home,
O Lorde most mightie, hye father, creatour,
Withsaue to graunt them some office of honour,
285 Their heere was rugged poudred all with chaffe,
Some full of strawes, some other full of draffe,
Some with cobwebbes and dust were so arayde
That one beholding on them might be afrayde,
sig: [D3v]
Blacke was their colour and bad was their figure,
290 Uncomely to sight, mishapen of stature,
Our Lorde not smiled on them to shewe pleasaunce,
But saide to them thus with troubled countenaunce:
Ye smell all smoky, of stubble and of chaffe,
Ye smell of the grounde, of wedes and of draffe,
295 And after your sent and tedious sauour
Shall be your rowmes and all your behauour,
None can a pitcher turne to a siluer pece,
Nor make goodly silke of a gotes flece,
And harde is also to make withouten fayle
300 A bright two-hande sworde of a cowes tayle.
Not more will I make, howebeit that I can,
Of a vile villayne a noble gentleman,
Ye shall be plowmen and tillers of the grounde,
To payne and labour shall ye alway be bounde,
305 Some shall kepe oxen, and some shall hogges kepe,
Some shall be threshers, some other shall kepe shepe,
ref.ed: 195
To digge and to delue, to hedge and to dike,
Take this for your lot and other labour like,
To drudge and to driuell in workes vile and rude,
310 This-wise shall ye liue in endlesse seruitude,
Reaping and mowing of fodder, grasse and corne,
Yet shall towne-dwellers oft laugh you vnto scorne.
Yet some shall we graunt to dwell in the citie,
For to make puddinges and butchers for to be,
315 Coblers or tinkers or els costarde-iaggers,
Hostelers or daubers, or droupy water-laggers,
And suche other sorte whose dayly businesse
Passeth in workes and labour of vilenesse,
To stoupe and to sweate, and subiect to become,
320 And neuer to be ridde from bondage and thraldome.
Then brought our Lorde to them the carte and harowe,
The gad and the whip, the mattoke and the whelebarowe,
The spade, the shouell, the forke and the plough,
And all suche tooles, then bad he them be tough,
325 And neuer to grutche at labour nor at payne,
For if they so did it should be thing in vayne.
Thus saide the father and Lorde omnipotent,
And then he ascended vp to the firmament,
Thus began honour and thus began bondage,
330 And diuersitie of citie and village,
And seruile labour first in the worlde began,
Demaunde of Cornix, declare the truth he can,
ref.ed: 196
This tolde me Cornix which wonned in the fen,
I trust his saying before a thousande men,

335 Is this the matter praysed of thee so sore?
A strawe for fables I set by them no store,
It were a maruell if Cornix matter tolde
To laude of shepheardes, or plowmen to vpholde,
He dwelled in the towne and helde with the citie,
340 Till nede him moued as it hath driuen thee.
When none of you both dare to the towne resorte
Among vs shepheardes yet finde ye here comfort,
So both thou and he be greatly for to blame,
To eate ou[r] vitayle and then to hurt our name. our] out C
345 The yong men of townes to mocke vs haue a gise,
Naught else can they do saue lies to deuise,
This vayne inuention and foolishe fayned fable
Agaynst rurall men they haue delite to bable,
And nought they ashame as blinde wretches vnwise,
350 Of God almightie suche leasinges to deuise,
This scoruy scoffing declareth openly
Agaynst rurall men rebuke and iniury,
But thou art so rude thy paunch is so fatte,
Agaynst thine owne selfe thou busy art to chatte,
355 All if this same iest is thy rebuke and blame,
Thy dulled reason can not perceyue the same.
But I shall proue thee that rurall people be
ref.ed: 197
More wise and noble then they of the citie,
And that the citie is full of fraude and strife,
360 When we in village haue good and quiet life.

I pray thee Faustus herefore be thou not wroth,
To haue displeasour of thee I were right loth,
I thought no mauger, I tolde it for a bourde,
If I had knowen I would haue said no worde:
365 But say thy pleasour, nowe tell foorth thy sentence,
And I shall heare thee with sober pacience.

I shall not deny our payne and seruitude,
I knowe that plowmen for the most part be rude,
Nowe shall I tell thee high matters true and olde,
370 Which curteous Candidus vnto me once tolde,
Nought shall I forge nor of no leasing bable,
This is true history and no surmised fable.
At the beginning of thinges first of all,
God made shepheardes and other men rurall,
375 But the first plowman and tiller of the grounde
Was rude and sturdie, disdayning to be bounde,
Rough and stubborne, and Cayn men did him call,
He had of mercy and pitie none at all,
But like as the grounde is dull, stony and tough,
380 Stubborne and heauy, rebelling to the plough.
So the first plowman was strong and obstinate,
Frowarde, selfewilled, and mouer of debate:
But the first shepheard was meke and nothing fell,
Humble as a lambe, and called was Abell.
385 A shepe geueth milke and little hath of gall,
So this good Abell had none ill-will at all.
No shepheard founde him iniurious nor wrong
Induring his life while he was them among,
And ofte of his flocke made he good sacrifice,
390 Of calfe or lambes, suche as were moste of price,
And of fat wethers the best not spared he,
To honour our Lorde and please his deitee.
ref.ed: 198
Thus had he fauour with God omnipotent,
So pleasing our Lorde, that to this time present
395 From first beginning of earth and man mortall,
God hath had fauour to people pastorall,
And poore shepheardes, their cotes folde and shepe,
Angels haue come for to defende and kepe,
Some shepheardes were in lande of Asserye,
400 Which after haue bene promoted very hye,
So that from cotes and houses pastorall
They haue assended to dignitie royall,
Charges and labour so doth my reason blinde,
That call their names can I not vnto minde,
405 Yet let me studie auoyding perturbaunce,
So may I call them vnto remembraunce.
Lo nowe I haue them, Abraham, Iacob,
Loth, Isaac, yong Ioseph and Iob,
These nowe rehearsed and all the patriarkes
410 Haue not disdayned poore shepe nor heardes workes,
Them hath our Lorde called from humble thinges,
And make them princes, dukes, or els kinges,
So haue they chaunged their clothing pastorall,
With golden garment, purpure and gay pall,
415 And then haue after by magnanimitie
Brought noble realmes in their captiuitie,
And haue in battayle bene mightie conquerours,
Won fame immortall and excellent honours.
Paris was pastour the sonne of Priamus,
420 Pan, Silene, Orpheus, and ioly Tyterus,
Saule was shepheard, so was he in like wise
Which would haue offred his sonne in sacrifice,
Moyses was shepheard and was his flocke keping,
When he came bare-foote vnto the bushe flaming,
sig: [D4]
425 Commaunded by God to leaue his flocke and go
On Gods message to sturdy Pharao.
Also Apollo was herde sometime in Grece,
Nothing disdayning to handle Ewe and flece:
As write Poetes, he left diuine honour,
ref.ed: 199
430 Glad among wethers to be a gouernour.
The blessed angels brought to such men as we
Message of concorde, of peace and vnitie,
And song that Gloria , flying in the skye,
Which our syr Sampson doth sing so meryly.
435 First had shepherdes sure tiding by message
That God was made man to bye humane linage,
And herdes instruct by voyce angelicall
Sawe God incarnate and borne first of all.
And this was pleasure of Gods Maiestie
440 That simple herdes him first of all should see,
And in their maner make vnto him offringes
Before estates, as riche and mightie kinges.
The ioly Harper, which after was a kinge,
And slewe the giant so stoutly with his sling
445 Was first a shepherde or he had dignitie,
Right so were many, as stoute and bolde as he:
And our Lorde Iesu, our God and Sauiour
Named him-selfe a shepherde or pastour.
Right so he named men meeke and pacient
450 His flocke and his shepe for maners innocent:
Thinke not these wordes glosed nor in vayne,
They are the Gospell, so saith syr Peter playne.
I sawe them my-selfe well paynted on the wall,
Late gasing vpon our Churche Cathedrall:
455 I sawe great wethers in picture and small lambes,
Daunsing, some sleeping, some sucking of their dams,
And some on the grounde me-semed lying still,
Then sawe I horsemen at pendant of an hill,
And the three kinges with all their company,
460 Their crownes glistering bright and oriently,
With their presentes and giftes misticall,
All this behelde I in picture on the wall.
But the poore pastours as people innocent
First sawe the Crib of our Lorde omnipotent.
465 Thus it appereth God loueth poore pastours,
Sith he them graunted to haue so great honours.
ref.ed: 200
Our Lorde hath fauour both to shepe and folde,
As it appereth by these historyes olde.
Our Lorde is ready to succour the village,
470 Despising townes for malice and outrage.
For God is content with simple pouertie,
Pride he despiseth and wrongfull dignitie.

In good fayth Faustus, thy tale is vertitable,
Grounded on learning, and greatly commendable:
475 Lately my-selfe to see that picture was,
I sawe the maunger, I sawe the oxe and asse.
I well remember the people in my minde,
Me-thinke yet I see the blacke faces of Inde:
Me-thinke yet I see the herdes and the kinges,
480 And in what maner were ordred their offeringes.
As long as I liue the better shall I loue
The name of herdes, and citezins reproue.
Wherfore mate Faustus, I pray God geue thee care,
If thou the faultes of any citie spare.
485 Speake on and spare not, and touche their errour,
Yet may we common more then a large houre.

Then turne we to talke a while of citizens,
To touche their foly and parcell of their sinnes,
Thinke not Amintas that they of the citie
490 Liue better life or wiselyer then we.
All if their cloathing be doubled for the colde,
And though they glister so gayly in bright golde,
Shining in silkes, in purpure or veluet,
In furred robes, or clokes of scarlet,
495 And we poore herdes in russet cloke and hood:
ref.ed: 201
It is not clothing can make a man be good.
Better is in ragges pure liuing innocent
Then a soule defiled in sumptuous garment.
Trust me Amintas, my-selfe with these same eyne
500 Haue in the citie such often-times seene
Iet in their silkes, and brag in the market,
As they were lordes I oft haue seene them iet,
Which are starke beggers, and liue in neede at home,
And oft go to bed for neede with empty wombe.
505 Nought is more foolish then such wretches be,
Thus with proude port to cloke their pouertie.
What is neede cloked or fayned aboundaunce,
Pouertie, slouth, and wretched gouernaunce?
What is fayre semblaunce with thought and heauynes?
510 Forsooth nought els but cloked foolishnes.
And some haue I seene (which is a thing damnable)
That while they would haue a liuing delectable,
Rest at their pleasure, and fare deliciously,
Haue suffred their wiues defiled wetingly,
515 Haue solde their daughters flowre of virginitie,
O dede vnworthy, O blinde iniquitie:
Fame, honour, the soule and chastitie be solde
For wretched liuing, O cursed thirst of golde.
O damnable deede, so many for to spill,
520 One wretched carkasse and belly for to fill?
ref.ed: 202
What thing is viler? what more abhominable?
What thing more foolish, more false and detestable?

What if they can not to other craft them geue?
Nor finde other way or meanes for to liue?
525 Nede hath no lawe, of two euils perdie
To chose the least ill is none iniquitie,

Sith they haue as many soules as haue we,
As much of reason, and handes like plentie,
Why may they not to honest worke them geue,
530 And finde other way and maner for to liue.
No lawe permitteth nor willeth man perdie
To commit murther for harde necessitie,
No more should any his soule defile or kill
For lust transitory, or pleasure to fulfill.
535 Yet be in cities mo suing foolishnes,
Wening by craft for to haue great riches:
By which craftes no man hath riches founde,
Sith time that our Lord first fourmed man and ground:
As Alkemistes wening by pollicy
540 Nature to alter, and coyne to multiply.
Some wash rude metall with licours manifolde
Of herbes, wening to turne it into golde.
All pale and smoky be such continuall,
And after labour they lose their life and all:
ref.ed: 203
545 Another sorte is to this not much vnlike,
Which spende their times in wretched art magike,
Thereby supposing some treasure to haue founde,
Which many yeres is hid within the grounde.
What is more foolish, more full of vanitie,
550 Or more repugning to fayth and probitie,
Because they would flye good busynes and payne,
They vse such trifles and wretched thinges vayne.
They proue all thinges because they would do nought,
Still seeking newes, still troubled in their thought:
555 Because they woulde flee the labour of the lande,
All ydle trifles such taketh on their hande:
sig: [D4v]
Still be they busy, and neuer come to ende,
To thing profitable do fewe of them intende.
Some liue by rapine, gile, fraude and pollicy,
560 Penury, oppression, and some on vsury.
Some gladly borowe, and neuer pay agayne,
Some keepe from seruauntes the stipend of their payne:
Some rest men giltlesse, and cast them in prison,
Some bye stronge thieues out of the dungeon.
565 Some faune, some flatter, man trust not when they smile,
Then frame they fraudes men slyly to begile.
Some in one houre more promise to thee will,
Then all his dayes he thinketh to fulfill:
By thousande meanes of fraude and craftynes
570 Lye they in wayte for honour and riches.
ref.ed: 204
They feede the riche, and often let the poore
Dye for pure colde and hunger at their doore.
We feede fat oxen, they marmosets keepe,
We feede fat kiddes, lambes and good sheepe:
575 And they feede hawkes, apes, horse and houndes,
And small is their ioy saue here within our boundes.
We bring them butter, egges, cheese and wooll,
Tankerdes of milke and creame fleeting full: fleeting: =skimmings
All maner fleshe, and all their whole liuing,
580 Without our labour truely they haue nothing.
We are the feeders of wethers and fat hogges,
And they of the Citie feede birdes and great dogges.
Nowe iudge Amintas, which of these seemeth thee
Of moste aduauntage and moste nobilitie.

585 If by our labour proceedeth more riches,
And moste aduauntage, as seemeth truth doubtles,
Then this I meruayle that they of the Citie
Haue so great plentie, and we necessitie:
The cause can not I call to my remembraunce,
590 Wherof proceedeth their store and aboundaunce.

The cause I tolde thee, what wouldest thou haue more,
By fraude and falshood haue they so mikle store.
Seest thou not playnly howe they of the Citie
Dayly deceyue our poore simplicitie.
ref.ed: 205
595 With what crueltie against vs they rage,
By false oppression or fayre-fayned language.
They thinke it pleasure that sorowe on them hap,
By glosed wordes to take vs in a trap:
The moste of them all count it an almes-deede
600 Us heardes to fraude, this is a gentle meede:
For them we labour in heate, colde, winde and rayne,
And fraude and disceyte they pay vs for our payne.
With mindes and tonge they study and they muse
Both day and night vs heardes to abuse:
605 Their wit and body all whole do they apply,
For vs poore wretches to study pollicie:
And after their fraude, gile and deception,
Then do they laugh vs vnto derision.

Howe came thou to knowledge of this enormitie,
610 And of these maners of them of the Citie:
My-selfe there wonned, and there was conuersant,
Of some of these thinges yet am I ignorant.

Thou could not perceyue well their enormitie,
Perchaunce thy maners did with their life agree:
615 There seldome is seene great contradiction,
Where men accordeth in disposition.
No fault with Moriens is blacke difformitie,
Because all the sort like of that fauour be.
So could thou not see their vices nor them blame,
620 Because thine owne life was filed with the same.
But howe I knewe them nowe shall I tell to thee,
While I brought butter to sell to the Citie,
ref.ed: 206
And other vitayle, I vsed milke to crye,
Then had I knowledge with an appotecary:
625 Of him I learned much falshood and practise
Not to the purpose the same to exercise:
He could make plasters and newe commixtions,
In valour scant worth a couple of onions,
Yet solde he the same as it were golde so dere,
630 Namely if happened any infectife yere.
I was acquainted with many an hucster,
With a costardmonger and with an hostler.
This thiefe was crafty poore people to begile,
None like I suppose within a dosen mile:
635 Among all his other fraudes and his crimes
He solde one bottell of hey a dosen times.
And in the Otes could he well drop a candle,
Well knewe he howe his gestes for to handle.
And in the same Inne ther dwelled a prety prim,
640 She could well flatter and glose with him and him.
And necke a measure, her smirking gat her sale,
She made ten shillinges of one barell of ale.
Whom she begiled in pottes, she was fayne
To win them with fresh and paynted looke agayne.
645 And as I remember, her name was wanton Besse,
Who least with her dealt he thriued not the lesse.
What needeth more processe, no craft of the Citie
Is, but is mingled with fraude and subtiltie:
Saue onely the craft of an Apoticary,
650 That is all fraude and gilefull pollicy,
But all these would sweare that they were innocent,
Or they to the Citie did first of all frequent.
ref.ed: 207
There learned they theft and fraude to exercise,
And man of nature is moued soone to vice.
655 Some be also which spend their patrimony
Which was to them lefte by their olde auncestry
On queanes, baudes, in riot and dronkennes,
Their name defiling, despising all goodnes.
With cost and paynes such busyly labour,
660 Seeking for shame and death before their houre.
Say where is custome of fornication,
Incest, aduoutry and defloration,
Forcing of women, murther and rapine,
Discorde and brauling and liuing like to swine:
665 Malice, enuy, and all iniquitie
Do these not reygne in middes of the Citie?
All newe abusion prouoking men to sins
Had first beginning among the Citezins.
Where dwell great princes and mightie gouernours,
670 Their life despising for to haue vayne honours.
Capitaynes, souldiers, and all like company,
Which put for money their life in ieopardie.
These dwell not vplande, but haunt the Citie,
Poore herdes fight not but for necessitie,
675 For libertie, life, and Iustice to vpholde,
Towne-dwellers fight for vayne honour and golde.
We fight our frendes and housholde to defende,
They fight for malice to riches to ascende.
ref.ed: 208
Our cause and quarell is to maynteyne the right,
680 But all on selfe-will without reason they fight.
They seeke by woundes for honour and riches,
And driue the weakest to hardest busynes.
O blinde souldier, why settest thou thy hart
For a vayne stipende against a mortall dart.
685 By thousand perils thou takest thy passage,
For small lucre renning to great domage.
Their sweete life they geue for a poore stipende,
And oft lese they both, and heauen at the ende.
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While some contendeth and fighteth for his wage,
690 His life he spendeth, then farewell aduauntage.
What is more foolish or liker to madnes,
Then to spende the life for glory and riches?
What thing is glory, laude, praysing or fame,
What honour, reporte, or what is noble name?
695 Forsooth nought but voyce of witlesse commontie,
And vayne opinion subiect to vanitie.
Processe of yeres, reuoluing of reason
Bringeth all these soone in obliuion.
When life is faded all these be out of sight,
700 Like as with the Sun departeth the day-light,
They all be fooles which meddle with the sea,
And otherwise might liue in their owne country.
He is but a foole which runneth to tempest,
And might liue on lande in suertie and in rest.
705 He is but a foole which hath of good plentie,
ref.ed: 209
And it disdayneth to vse and occupy.
And he which liueth in care and wretchednes
His heyre to promote to landes and riches
Is moste foole of all, to spare in misery,
710 With goodes and landes his heyre to magnifye.
And he which leaueth that thing for to be done
Unto his daughter, executour or sonne,
Which he him-self might in his life fulfill,
He is but a foole, and hath but litle skill.
715 But all these sortes within the citie be,
They want of wisedome and sue enormitie.
And also the youth in dayes festiuall
Do nought but folowe their lustes bestiall.
The weeke they vse them in worldly busynes,
720 The Sunday serueth to folowe viciousnes.
What time the shoppes be closed all and shit,
Then is the market with Thais, beale and kit,
On hyest dayes such ware is namely solde,
For nought it waxeth, if it be once olde.
725 Upon the Sonday when man should God honour,
Left is good labour, ensued is errour.
Oft-time the olde freer that wonned in Grenewitch
Against such folyes was boldly wont to preache:
He saide: where baudes and their abusion
730 Were wont to abide in one vile place alone,
Nowe are they sprinkled and sparkled abrode,
Like-wise as shippes be docked in a rode,
That harde is to knowe good women from the ill,
By ill example good are in doubt to spill.
735 Baudes be suffered so where them lust to bide,
That the strete fadeth vpon the waterside.
Cate, Gill, Mably, Phillis and feate Ieny,
Because of the citie nowe can not get one peny.
ref.ed: 210
Uile Thais was wont in angles for to be,
740 Nowe hath she power in all the whole citie.

Thou passest measure (Faustus) by God a[u]owe,
Thou sayest of malice right well perceyue I nowe:
Mitigate thy minde and tonge, for it is shame
Men of the citie thus largely to blame.
745 What man is faultlesse, remember the village,
Howe men vplondish on holy-dayes rage.
Nought can them tame, they be a beastly sort,
In sweate and labour hauing most chiefe comfort.
On the holy-day as soone as morne is past,
750 When all men resteth while all the day doth last,
They drinke, they banket, they reuell and they iest,
They leape, they daunce, despising ease and rest.
If they once heare a bagpipe or a drone,
Anone to the elme or Oke they be gone.
755 There vse they to daunce, to gambolde and to rage,
Such is the custome and vse of the village.
When the ground resteth from rake, plough and wheles
Then moste they it trouble with burthen of their heles.
To Bacchus they banket, no feast is festiuall,
760 They chide and they chat, they vary and they brall,
They rayle and they route, they reuell and they crye,
Laughing and leaping, and making cuppes drye,

What, stint thou thy chat, these wordes I defye,
It is to a vilayne rebuke and vilany.
765 Such rurall solace so plainly for to blame,
Thy wordes sound to thy rebuke and shame.

Not so frend Faustus, I spake it but in game,
Agayne to the Citie returne in Gods name.

Yet of the citie mo fooles tell can I,
ref.ed: 211
770 Which wene to number the sterres in the sky,
By them supposing eche desteny to tell,
But all be fooles that with this matter mell.
Yet be they madder which fixe their intent
To searche the nature of God omnipotent:
775 And dare be so bolde to set their mortall sight
On incomprehensible and pure immortall light.
Our fayth is better, for they of the citie
Beleue by reason with great difficultie:
Or they will beleue, they braule with argument,
780 Playne speeche suffiseth vs people innocent.
Against Sir Sampson their quarell they defende,
We aske no question, and vse not to contende.
We light the aultars, and many candels offer,
When they of the towne scantly make a proffer:
785 Their fayth is feble, our fayth is sure and stable,
They dare be bolde with doctours for to bable:
A worldly merchaunt nought knowing of doctrine,
Because of his coyne counteth his reason fine.
Trust me Amintas, no force who heareth me,
790 The coyne and cunning doth not alway agree:
For some be that haue plentie of that one,
Which of that other haue litle part or none.
What should the fooles that dwell in the citie,
Or we seeke to knowe of Gods priuitie.
795 If it were nedefull the Godhead for to knowe
To simple wretches here on the grounde alowe:
ref.ed: 212
It is in the power of God omnipotent
His very presence to vs to represent.
But sith his knowledge is incomprehensible,
800 Why seeke fooles for thinges impossible?
And sith God will be vnknowen vnto us,
Why should thing mortall of endlesse thing discusse?
And rurall people in almes do excell
Aboue all the sort which in the citie dwell.
805 We geue wooll and cheese, our wiues coyne and egges coyne (=T, W): corne?
When freers flatter and prayse their proper legges.
For a score of pinnes, and needles two or three
A gentle cluner two cheeses had of me. cluner: =Cluniac (monk)
Phillis gaue coyne because he did her charme,
810 Euer sith that time lesse hath she felt of harme.
Yet is in the citie a number incurable,
Pleaders and brokers a foule and shamefull rable,
Merchauntes of Iustice, hunters of riches,
Cratchers of coyne, delayers of processe,
815 Prolonging causes, and making wrong of right,
And right of playn wrong, oppressing law with might,
Iaylers of Iustice, their cursed couetice
Watreth the plantes of crueltie and vice.
sig: [D5v]
ref.ed: 213

This haue I proued by playne experience,
820 But tell me Faustus, what causeth this offence.

The roote and the grounde of this misgouernaunce
Is fauour, rewarde, and wilfull ignoraunce:
When coyne or fauour once dimmed hath the sight,
Adue all Iustice, in prison layde is right.
825 Yet be in townes a rable fraudulent,
Murtherers of people, and free of punishment:
Uaunting and boasting them-selfe of medicine,
And naught perceyuing of science and doctrine:
If they be fetred with ringes and with cheynes,
830 Then may they handle and touch priuy veynes:
Name all diseases and sores at their will,
Auoyde of cunning, of reason eyther skill:
Suche ride on mules, and pages by their side,
But if they had right, on asses should they ride.
835 As touching rulers of all the commontie,
The more that they haue of hye aucthoritie,
Of libertie, will, and singuler pleasure,
So much the more poore people they deuour.
The houndes sometime wont foldes for to keepe,
840 Be nowe wilde wolues, deuouring all the sheepe:
Rulers be robbers, and pillers be pastours,
Gone is the giding of godly gouernours.
O where be rulers maynteyners of Iustice,
ref.ed: 214
Where be subduers and slakers of all vice?
845 Where be the frendes of mercy and pitie,
Sometime well ruling, not spoyling the Citie?
Where be chaste rulers, iust, meke, and liberall?
Chaunged is fortune, death hath deuoured all.
The worst remayneth, gone be the meke and iust,
850 In-stede of vertue ruleth freewill and lust.
Where be the fathers right worthy an empire,
Of whom men coumpted gay tales by the fire:
Sometime with tales, and otherwhile with songe,
So driuing away the winter nightes longe.
855 Alas Amintas, nought bideth that is good,
No not my cokers, my taberte nor my hood.
All is consumed, all spent and worne be,
So is all goodnes and wealth of the Citee.
The temples pilled do bitterly complayne,
860 Poore people wayle, and call for helpe in vayne:
Poore widowes sorowe, and children fatherlesse,
In vayne bewayle, when wolues them oppresse.
Sinne hath no scourge, and vertue no rewarde,
Who loueth wisedome, his fortune is but harde.
865 Counsell and cunning nowe tumble in the dust,
But what is the cause? lawe turned is to lust:
Lust standeth in stede of lawe and of Iustice,
Whereby good liuing subdued is by vice.

I tell thee Faustus, this hastynes of thee
870 Passeth the boundes of right and honestie.
ref.ed: 215
All men thou blamest by wrath and hastynes,
As all Citizens were full of viciousnes.
What man remember, some liue in innocence,
Some in the Citie be partlesse of offence.

875 I am not angry, I say but veritie,
Heare me Amintas one clause with breuitie:
As many todes as breede in Irelande,
And as many Gripes as breede in Englande,
As many Cuckowes as sing in Ianuary,
880 And Nightingales as sing in February,
And as many whales as swimmeth in the fen,
So many be there in Cities of good men.

A good man is geason, not easy to be founde
On lande or in Citie, or ouer all the grounde,
885 Many thinges longe vnto a perfect man,
Aske that of Codrus, declare the truth he can,
Badnes encreaseth and ouer fast doth growe.
Goodnes and vertue in comming vp be slowe.

Thou are mad I trowe, so many foes haue we,
890 As dwell Citizens in all the whole Citie.
They clip vs, they poule vs, they pill vs to the skin,
And what they may get that thinke they well to win.
ref.ed: 216
To theft they constrayne vs, I tell thee by all-halowes,
And after by and by they sende vs to the galowes.
895 Therfore it is reason, if ought of theirs hap
Or come to our clawes, it priuily to trap.
They vs oft disceyue, disceyue we them agayne,
Deuise we slily, gile, subtiltie and trayne.
But this Amintas to me is greatest griefe
900 And doubt, for it is ill stealing from a thiefe.
If it be secrete, we may it well denye,
If it be knowen, excuse it craftyly.
Priuy felony though it be vsed longe
Is not called theft, but iniury or wrong.
905 All that they haue within these townes playne,
Is our harde labour, sore trauayle and great payne.

Nowe thou exceedest the marke of equitie,
Thou passest reason Faustus I tell to thee.

What then Amintas, haue pacience a while,
910 Towne-dwellers vices doth all the earth defile.
The ayre is corrupt by their enormitie,
These summer stormes whence come they, tel thou me:
Lightning, great windes, fluds, hayle and thunder,
I well remember, oft-time the ground here-vnder
ref.ed: 217
915 Right sore hath quaked, and caused houses fall,
Vice of the Citie is roote and cause of all.
The Sunne in mid-day oft-time hath lost his light,
In like wise the moone in season of the night.
Both hath bene blacke, or els red as bloud,
920 This signe Amintas pretendeth vs no good.
Why growe the weedes and cockle in the corne?
Why is hey and grasse oft-times all forlorne?
Why lose we our seede, our labour and expence,
Whence commeth murrayne and grieuous pestilence?
925 All these proceedeth by mad enormitie,
And corrupt maners of them of the Citie:
And worse is like yet afterwarde to fall,
If they not refourme their liuing bestiall.
Whence came the furour of hardnes and battayle,
930 Which causeth widowes their spouses to bewayle,
Which bringeth with it all kinde of misery,
As theft and murther, great death and penury?
Forsooth in Cities this furour f[i]rst began, first] ftrst C
To the confusion of many a doubty man.
935 The Citie is well and ground originall,
Both first and last of deadly euils all:
Bred in the Citie was cruell Licaon,
Bred among herbes was good Dewcalion.
ref.ed: 218
Among Shepherdes nourished was Rhenus,
940 And also his brother the mightie Romulus.
The cause of the flud in Citie first began,
Whereby was wasted nere euery beast and man.
Our Lorde destroyed fiue Cities for outrage,
Reade where for sinnes he wasted one village.
sig: [D6]
945 I trowe when the world with fire wasted shall be,
The cause shall proceede and come of some Citie.
What shall I touche the sauour and the stinke
Which is in cities, of gutter and of sinke:
There men be choked with vile and deadly sent,
950 Here haue we odour of floures redolent:
I coumpt me happy which won in the village,
As vndefiled with citizens outrage.

Haue done nowe Faustus, lay here a_straw and rest,
Fill we our bely with cruddes that is best.
955 Leaue we the Citie and all ciuill outrage,
Nowe is it season to turne to the potage,
After our diner is best in my minde
The rest to declare, if ought remayne behinde.


Thus endeth the fifth and last Egloge of Alexander_Barclay, of the Citizen and the man of the countrey.

Imprinted at London in Paules Churchyarde by Iohn_Cawood Printer to the Queenes Maiestie.

Cum Priuilegio ad imprimendum solum.